The Isle of Man is set to be one of the first locations where the restoration and expansion of British rainforests will take place.

The Wildlife Trusts recently received a donation of £38 million from insurance company Aviva, which has being used to fund this project.

It explains that British rainforests have been largely destroyed over hundreds of years and now cover less than 1% of Britain.

The ambitious programme will see temperate rainforests restored and expanded in areas where they used to grow along the damper, western climes of the British Isles.

The first two sites are Creg y Cowin in the Isle of Man and Bryn Ifan in North Wales.

More than 70 acres at Creg y Cowin in East Baldwin will be planted with native tree species, with around 20 acres allowed to regenerate naturally. Non-planted areas of lowland heath, fen-meadow, waxcap grassland and ponds will provide further habitat for wildlife.

In time, conservation grazing with sheep and cattle will enhance it.

Manx Wildlife Trust anticipates the return of oakwood dwellers such as wood warbler, pied flycatcher and redstart, as well as raptors, owls and woodland invertebrates.

The rainforest will increase water purity for the West Baldwin Reservoir, help with flood prevention, and contribute to a nature recovery network in the Isle of Man.

Abandoned agricultural dwellings, known as Manx tholtans, will be protected for their cultural and historical significance.

Leigh Morris, chief executive of Manx Wildlife Trust, said: ‘The remnants of ancient woodland in the Isle of Man are crucially important and, for many years, Manx Wildlife Trust ecologists have been working hard to conserve them.

‘It’s fantastic that the island is now in the vanguard of bringing temperate rainforests back on a big scale. The land that we are going to be restoring in partnership with the Isle of Man Woodland Trust is significant.

‘This will be a landmark project for the island, in terms of nature’s recovery, nature-based solutions and engaging people in the process. Exciting times for Manx nature.’

The restoration of this precious habitat is part of a wider programme of nature-based projects funded by Aviva to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to help nature recover, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

Local communities will be closely involved in rainforest projects and will benefit from increased access to nature, volunteering, educational and employment opportunities. Rainforest recovery will also provide cleaner air and water and reduced risk from flooding.

l Today (Thursday), The Wildlife Trusts is hosting an online panel discussion about the restoration of rainforests across the British Isles.

Speakers include wildlife TV presenter and president of The Wildlife Trusts Liz Bonnin, Environment Minister Clare Barber, Aviva’s head of sustainability Zelda Bentham, and MWT’s Leigh Morris.

Register to watch online at