Backsbottom Farm 2017-11-15 10:33:00

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris  Author: Macfarlane R & Morris J, Illustrated, Nature, Reviewer: Peter Reason, Words Reviewed by Peter ReasonWhen our postman handed me the package that contained my review copy of The Lost Words I blurted out, ‘I’ve been waiting for this!’ In the weeks before its delivery I had read hugely appreciative reviews in the national press and on line. The book has benefited from a major marketing campaign from the publishers, aimed firmly at the Christmas market, and attracted much attention. So while delighted to get my copy I was also a bit anxious: would I like it or was it over-hyped? Would I find anything to write about it that has not already been written?I took the book to my favourite armchair and slowly turned the pages, first taking ...

Raptor Persecution…….again……

Bowland: Crimes Against Natureby Eleanor Daisy Upstill-Goddard · 22nd September 2017 We have all heard of the expression ‘to turn a blind eye’, meaning to pretend that a particular act or occurrence has gone unnoticed and unregistered, to ignore something or even to neglect it. I am sure there have been times in most people’s lives where they have ‘turned a blind eye’ to something. Though (hopefully!) these incidents have been rather minor ones, incidents like pretending you did not see your little brother smash your mum’s vase, or ignoring the fact that your dog just ate your favourite pair of shoes. They are incidents that are minor irritations, but they are not ones that will not have a greater impact on our lives and not generally things of huge importance. They are not for...

Statement on Persecution of Birds of Prey

copyright F.of B.7th November 2017The Forest of Bowland AONB is an important area for the birds of prey that we associate with the English uplands, such as hen harrier, peregrine, merlin and short-eared owls.  However, the RSPB Birdcrime Report 2016 published last week highlights how some of these iconic species continue to be the subject of illegal acts of persecution throughout much of England and particularly the northern uplands.The Chair of the Forest of Bowland AONB Joint Advisory Committee, County Councillor Albert Atkinson stated:"It is particularly concerning to the Committee that these acts of illegal persecution continue; badly affecting the populations of birds of prey that are synonymous with the Forest of Bowland. These acts undoubtedly have an impact on the reputation of Bowland as an 'Area of Outstanding Natur...

Farmers Workshop on Natural Flood Management

19 Oct 2017Guided walk around demonstration area on farm Natural Flood Management Farmers meeting on 19th October 2017 visited the slow the flow demonstration on Backsbottom Farm to see check dams, swales and blanket bog restoration and discussed mob grazing and keyline subsoiling. Early in the day we had brief presentations from Lune Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England and the Abbeystead Estate. It was a morning of lively discussion with 20 participants. Thanks to Sandra Silk from the Forest of Bowland AONB for organising this.Slow The Flow:        Check Dams and In River Training Demonstration area ...

Roeburn Remembering Restoring Festival

                                    Let us know if you are comingFacebook Event LinkPoster by Eller Everett River Roeburn Remembering and Restoring FestivalSat 12th -Sun 13th August 2017Backsbottom Farm, Roeburndale West, Nr. Wray, Lancaster La2 9llThis Free Festival will celebrate and remember 50 years since the Wray flood on 8th August 1967and will help to engage the local community and general public about the issues around flooding and water management.Events will include:Historical exhibition of the River Roeburn and events of flooding, landslips and other river changes over the years including Wray Flood and Flood Desmond. In Rural Classroom in the farmyard.&nbs...

Mobile Chicken House

This mobile chicken house means that the field doesn't get muddy and eroded and the grass still grows. The chickens are off the ground from predators in their hut, the wire can have left over food put on to it without attracting rodents and the whole thing can be moved by tractor so food remnants will fertilise the ground.There's also no need to go out at night to lock up the chickens as they have a predator proof ladder!the frame ...
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Mulching the Garden

We're lucky to have had Caroline and Charlie ,our fantastic French volunteers, to help in the garden. Here they are mulching the Keder polytunnel and greenhouse with compost made from rotted down bracken. Our vegetable polyculture beds are a mixture of the no dig and hugel methods. No dig is particularly beneficial for the soil as the earthworms do the digging when the mulch is put on top and there is little disturbance to micro-organisms.Caroline filling wheelbarrow loads of compostCharlie in the Keder greenhousepulling out old nasturtiums which will go back into the compost heapsCaroline piling on the composthandfuls of compost go on top of the greenhouse beds...
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Slow the Flow – Check Dams on Fell

As part of the upland restoration work being undertaken by Rod these check dams are shown being put into ditches which in time will slow the flow of rain water down towards the river. Recent flooding around the country have shown that our uplands are severely depleted in water retention capacities. A healthy river needs healthy uplands which absorb water and slowly feed the rivers instead of fast runoff resulting in floods which damage the environment, towns and villages. Here are some photos showing Rod, and our lovely French volunteers Charlie and Caroline working with the various components like sheep wool, river rocks and rushesriver rocks being placed across a ditch--Charlie, Rod and Carolinesteady there they're getting heavier so hurry with that photothe finished "wall" across the ditchthank you Charlie and Caroline you did a great jo...

Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland

The North West Raptor Group are making an appeal to combat the illegal killing of Peregrine Falcons in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland, situated in the North West of England. Classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it covers 808 square Kilometers of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The Forest of Bowland is internationally important for its upland bird populations and under the Habitats Directive "Bowland Fells" are designated a Special Protection Area for specific birds of prey. The Forest of Bowland may be an SPA, but raptors like Hen Harrier and Peregrine Falcon receive no protection. In 2009 - 25 Peregrine territories in the Forest of Bowland were examined by the NWRG. 17 sites were occupied, 6 nests failed following the loss of eggs, chicks and adult birds. A total of 11 territories produced 24 fledged young. In 2...

Crowdfunding appeal for new raptor satellite tag project © R.P.U.K.

The campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support a new project to fit satellite tags to raptors in northern England, set to begin later this year. Satellite tagging has revolutionised efforts to detect raptor persecution crimes, and has also helped draw public attention to the illegal killing of raptors. The power of satellite-tagging was really first realised in 2009 when a young satellite-tagged golden eagle, ‘Alma’, was found dead on a grouse moor on the Millden Estate in the Angus Glens. She’d been poisoned. It’s highly unlikely her corpse would have been detected had she not been fitted with a satellite tag, which allowed investigators to pinpoint her body as she lay face down in a vast expanse of heather moorland. The resulting publicity about her death was phenomena...

RSPB getting tough? © Mark Avery

RSPB getting tough?Mark ♦ November 10, 2016 ♦ 31 CommentsThere are two recent RSPB blogs which are well worth a read – aren’t they all, always? Martin Harper’s blog is pretty outspoken as these quotes will make clear (but please read it all): it was a deeply frustrating debate – especially to the 123,000 that called for a ban and of course those seeking reform. Our initial reaction tried to pick out some positives, but that was a real challenge. Clearly there is widespread opposition from within the driven grouse shooting community to any real reform.…if pressure for reform remains then the quality of the parliamentary debate will inevitably improve as people won’t be able to brazenly ignore the facts like some did on Monday.When more crimes get into the public domain it will be harder for MPs to turn a blind eye.…...

Wildlife Detective Blog © Alan Stewart

Evidence to Westminster and Scottish Parliament on driven grouse shooting – comment. Posted on October 30, 2016 by wildlifedetective Woodpigeon bait and poisoned buzzard, still warm, found on Glenogil Estate, a driven grouse moor in Angus, in 2011.It’s been an interesting few days reading and listening to responses to Mark Avery’s proposed ban on driven grouse shooting and the proposal by Scottish Raptor Study Groups (SRSG) to licence game shooting. Many of the responses in favour of either of these proposals are compelling, though I have not yet seen an argument against that convinces me Mark or SRSG are on the wrong track. I think the most knowledgeable and convincing argument to ban driven grouse shooting comes from Guy Shorrock. Guy is a senior investigations officer with RSPB and his evidence is...

More Written Evidence to the Driven Grouse Shooting Debate

Written evidence from name withheld (GRO0321)Executive SummaryThe shooting industry and its representatives should be removed from all positions of power where wildlife crime law enforcement policy are discussed or decided upon.Driven grouse moors should be rewilded.  This at a stroke, would remove the many very serious problems of driven grouse moors and provide real, significant, tangible benefits for the whole of society.Driven grouse moor management normally involves very high levels of wildlife crime as well as a range of very serious conservation issues.The illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK has a very serious detrimental effect, especially on hen harrier and golden eagle populations.Raptor persecution should be treated as organised crime.Detection of wildlife crime on grouse shooting estates is currently ...

Hugh Webster’s Evidence © Mark Avery

Gems from the written evidence 22 – Hugh WebsterMark ♦ October 30, 2016 ♦ Leave Your CommentThis was a very well-written and well expressed piece of evidence. Here are some extracts: I firmly believe that the law should be changed to specifically ban driven red grouse shooting. I am aware that some conservationists would settle for a licensing system as a compromise, but this tempting option fails to address the underlying incontrovertible fact that driven grouse shooting is fundamentally reliant on bird of prey persecution. It is an either or situation.…the grouse industry is always keen to point to the curlews, lapwings and golden plovers that undeniably benefit from their land management, as if an unnatural abundance of a few species of wildfowl should offset an entire ecosystem laid to waste. Can you imagine a gamek...

Gems from the written evidence 13 – name withheld © Mark Avery

Mark ♦ October 29, 2016 ♦ Leave Your Comment Here is the summary of another very powerful piece of written evidence: The shooting industry and its representatives should be removed from all positions of power where wildlife crime law enforcement policy are discussed or decided upon.Driven grouse moors should be rewilded.  This at a stroke, would remove the many very serious problems of driven grouse moors and provide real, significant, tangible benefits for the whole of society.Driven grouse moor management normally involves very high levels of wildlife crime as well as a range of very serious conservation issues.The illegal persecution of birds of prey in the UK has a very serious detrimental effect, especially on hen harrier and golden eagle populations.Raptor persecution shou...

Mark Avery

Your task, should you choose to accept it…Mark ♦ September 30, 2016 ♦ 7 CommentsYour task this weekend, should you choose to accept it, is to submit evidence to the inquiry on grouse shooting – for details of how to do that see here.‘Submit evidence’ sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? How about ‘Send your thoughts’ instead? You could do that couldn’t you?  Look at Question 1 – ‘Should the law on grouse shooting be changed? If so, how?’. I reckon you have thoughts on that.I am writing my evidence and it’s quite a task to limit oneself to 3000 words on such a big subject. You could write a book about it  – hang on! Someone did. I know that many organisations are preparing detailed and erudite submissions to send in by the closing date on Wednesday 5 October but I have already also seen quite ...
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