Proposals have been put forward to create the island’s largest temperate rainforest.

The Manx Wildlife Trust has submitted a planning application to turn farmland at Creg-y-Cowin in Braddan into the new eco-system which will help boost the flora and fauna while also helping to lock away carbon emissions.

The MWT website already has a page dedicated to the proposed nature reserve and has submitted plans this week.

The website says: ‘An upland fringe sheep farm, Creg-y-Cowin will become the Island’s largest native temperate rainforest. This would have been the dominant landcover for the Manx uplands for thousands of years before Neolithic farming gradually cleared our native forests to make way for open fields.

‘Tree planting from 2023 until 2028 will be the main initial management, however, within 10 years of the last tree being planted we will reintroduce sheep and then cattle to make a woodland pasture.’

The application has revealed 25 species of native shrub and tree will be planted over 75 acres of the 105-acre site. The rest will be left to develop naturally.

In a planning statement the MWT says: ‘The plan for the site is to create a woodland pasture habitat with varied density plantings and glades to create a mosaic of habitat types from dense scrub to widely spaced park-like woodland’

How the temperate rain forest could look at Creg-y-Cowin in Braddan
(Manx Wildlife Trust)

The nature reserve will also maintain agricultural use of site, restore and protect grassland diversity, encourage woodland diversity and enable pedestrian public access.

The trust hopes to build a small community of volunteers to help nurture the site which will contain open woodland corridors to allow species such as butterflies, grasshoppers, lizards and meadow pipits navigate the reserve, alongside livestock and people.

The largest area of woodland would be a 1.5 acre conifer plantation dominated by non-native (North American) Sitka spruce. The planting is so dense neither plants nor moss can grow in its shade. Respacing should allow space for trees to grow large and long-lived and allow room for wildlife.

The site would have a number of areas, including the Riverside Glade which would be a wetland area next to the Baldwin River, a heather glade dominated by matgrass, Garee Glade dominated by purple moor grass and a Camping Glade where wild camping by task volunteers can take place.

The Flowery Meadow Glade would provide a sheltered grassland glade which would create an afternoon suntrap while the Hilltop Glade would be the highest point of the site. There would also be a Standing Stone Glade with well drained grassland with a standing stone at its centre.