Our Land>

We are so lucky to live in such a diverse and stunning county and this was really highlighted with our work on Monday. The day started at Dam Mire Wood, with a frost of -4c and the sun just beginning to come up and hit the top of Blencathra behind us. We had an early start to catch contractor Dan Boardley to talk about adding another small path and levelling in the bothy area so we could use it in a better way in future. The birds were singing and the views were spectacular.

Then it was a visit to the complete opposite end of the county, almost as far away as possible from Dam Mire but still within the Lake District National Park. We went on a first visit to our now newest property – we are delighted to announce that last week the legal transfer was finalised on land at Middle Bleansley near Broughton in Furness.

This is now our most southerly piece of land. This was a generous legacy from Mr Mark Stansfield Stephenson following his death last year. He kindly gifted us 16 ha of land, split between woodland and grazing land. Mark was a determined gentleman and over the past 20 years has been planting up much of this land, pushing a wheelbarrow full of trees and tubes to the top of a substantial hill to plant all on his own.

The land has marvellous views even though it was cloudy in the south. From the lower slopes it looks east towards the Woodland and Blawith Fells and down to the estuary around the Duddon, over to Barrow and Millom. Once you get higher up the fell and onto the top, you can look west towards the  Thwaites and Ulpha Fells, and there are tantalising glimpses north towards the Langdales. 

Accepting a legacy is always a mix of emotions – sadness that we have lost a member but deeply grateful for the generous gift; excitement about new opportunities whilst thinking through logistics of how to manage the land in future; and wanting to honour the wishes of the member whilst ponder if we can achieve even more for our landscape, wildlife and people. This piece of land has the added challenge of being a long way from our office and our regular team of volunteers.

We will now start to make plans and look at options and will hopefully be able to attract some new volunteers more local to the area. We have a first workparty scheduled for 18 May and have already identified a list of jobs from wall repairs to removing tree guards and bashing bracken on the right of way.