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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February, 2005, 00:27 GMT
New haven for threatened species
Black grouse
Black grouse are one of the rarest game birds in the UK
A new forest with 100,000 trees has been planted to provide a save haven for a threatened bird species.

The black grouse is one of the rarest birds in England with only an estimated 6,000 males left in the country.

To halt the decline in numbers, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has created a new haven at the Geltsdale reserve near Carlisle.

The final few trees of the new Bruthwaite Forest in the North Pennines are due to be planted on Tuesday.

Ancient maps reveal a huge forest used to be on the site and the RSPB has tried to recreate the original with a mixture of alder, oak, birch, ash and willow trees, covering an area roughly the size of 200 football pitches.

Malcolm Stott, RSPB Geltsdale woodland warden, said: "It's very exciting to have an opportunity to re-create a lost landscape and the RSPB is proud to be putting something unique back into this special part of the North Pennines.

Nesting sites

"However, growing trees is a slow business and it will be some years before Bruthwaite Forest can be appreciated in its full glory.

"Bruthwaite is an investment for the future, and one that will be appreciated by people and wildlife for generations to come."

Eventually it is hoped the forest will provide nesting sites for woodland birds, red squirrels and black grouse.

Once the trees are established, cattle will also be introduced to create a woodland pasture.

The forest is a joint venture between the RSPB, The Forestry Commission and East Cumbria Countryside Project.

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