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It’s a real wet and windy autumnal week in Cumbria, so much so that we have had to cancel our monthly walling at Mazonwath. There is no escaping the fact that autumn is coming, the bracken and trees are starting to turn orange, the blackberries are nearly over, the days are shorter. But, the spider’s webs on the dewy grass are magical, the badgers are back, turning over the grass for bugs and snacks, and wild blackberry and apple crumble is just the best! 

We were on Friends of the Lake District’s land at the Helm early in the week, doing some prep work for adding some fruit and berry trees in a couple of months. This time it was more rabbit wire going on the new enclosures.

Pictured: Nearly done: Finishing a new enclosure ready for planting with fruit and berry trees later in the year

We started off in real downpours with Adrian remarking ‘just why are we here?!!’. But you never know with our weather and by the afternoon it was sunny and we were joined by a range of birds who sang to us as we worked and various moths few around. No sign of any rabbits, let’s hope it stays that way… 

Pictured: One of our volunteers ably assisted by Tiggy the dog

Earlier in the week, our Policy Officer who looks after policy on agriculture and common land was out west learning about Herdwicks.

Pictured: Herdwick sheep being they do!

She found out loads of information but we decided to share three bits with you. Did you know that:

  1. Herdwicks have the highest levels of Omega 3 oils (normally associated with fish) of the three native sheep breeds found in Cumbria.
  2. Herdwick families heft within the flock heft – so the whole group learn their patch/heft from their mother but then within that heft, certain families then concentrate in specific patches, like each having their own room in a house!
  3. The blue-grey fleece colour of adult Herdwicks is thought to be camouflage against predators (wolves of old?) , and the fleece varies subtly, from valley to valley, to reflect the dominant local vegetation.

How great is that, amazing!

Valuing our Rural Life and Landscape - WEBINAR

If you have not already had an invite or signed up to our webinar on our latest research into valuing rural landscapes, you can sign up at the link to join our free webinar on 12th October at 3pm. We expect the webinar to last for about one hour. We'll be recording the event for those of you who are unable to join us online. 

The research is ground breaking in that it is looking at all types of benefit or capital that our own Little Asby Common gives us, not just natural capital, but also cultural, human, financial and social. The webinar will focus on the background to the work, and then you will hear from Prof Lois Mansfield about how she did the assessment and thoughts for future work.