WATER company United Utilities has entered an new land management partnership with the RSPB at its Haweswater Estate.

It aims to integrate hill farming with habitat restoration to create more space for nature and improve drinking water quality.

The conservation organisation has taken the tenancy of Naddle Farm, an upland sheep farm of approximately 1,250 acres of enclosed farm and woodland, with substantial common grazing rights on the fells. The vision is to improve biodiversity and water quality while managing the land as a farm enterprise.

The long-term project aims to restore a range of upland habitat, benefit wildlife and reduce the risk of erosion, which can affect raw water.

Mike Fishpool, Haweswater development manager for the RSPB, said: “By restoring upland habitats we aim to create a ‘win win’ situation for both wildlife and water.

“However, the lessons we learn from this project will only be relevant to the wider community if we integrate it with a farm.”

Paul Phillips, United Utilities catchment manager for Cumbria including Haweswater and Thirlmere, said: “Haweswater is a hugely important source of water.A quarter of the water we drink in the North West comes from here. Part of what makes it so good is the surrounding land, which is a natural filter.”