The fell road along Gummers Howe is one of the loveliest in the Lake District. The fells here are mainly forested, but where there are gaps you can see views to Lake Windermere on one side and Morecambe Bay on the other. The woodland, known as Chapel House Wood, is owned by the Forestry Commission, whose job it is not only to look after the woodland but also to protect the wildlife.
They’ve fallen down badly on both counts. The photo shows where they have cleared timber, leaving the fells looking like a battlefield. But their biggest crime has been in failing to protect the red squirrel in one of their last habitats in the South Lakes. When I first began to commute along this road 11 years ago red squirrels were a common sight and it was joy to see them. Now they have been wiped out and the greys have taken over. One of the main platforms of the campaign to protect the Forestry Commission earlier this year was the claim that they were there to protect the habitat of the red squirrel. This was one of the many untruths told on their behalf, as the scandal of Chapel House Wood illustrates.