Above is Farmer Phil’s photo of Lower Blakemere from the top of the Bank, and below is Ricardo’s Rant.
“I have often thought the Wildlife Trusts and Nature trusts across the country do some great work. The preservation of pockets of rare or vulnerable wildlife, carefully maintained microenvironments, in the form of Local Nature Reserves and National Nature Reserves scattered across the British countryside are essential in many respects. These capsules of landscape often from a forgotten time are geared to sustain a variety of flora and fauna that has been unable to withstand the pressures of modern agriculture, forestry or urban sprawl. There is a distinct (often wistful) hope that in the long term land management techniques and landowner practises will once again allow the creatures in these patches of rescued refuges to spill out into the wider countryside. Surely then the emphasis here is to encourage landowners and local people, who’s land abuts a nature reserve, to give the life ensconced in these peripheral patches a chance to colonise their own thoughtfully managed meadows, woods or watercourses.
Whilst slipping along a waterlogged meadow slope, unreminiscent of its summer demeanour, Sarah and I exchanged words with a group of chainsaw wielding volunteers, busily felling silver birch from a grassland reserve on the adjacent hill to that on which we have made our home. These friendly folk had been shipped in from a town 15 miles away. We were told that there was another group of able men and women creating adder habitat in the steep, yellow meadow ant infested, paddock next door. From a community of around 40 people discreetly located within spitting distance of these reserves not one had been informed of these activities and as a consequence not a single local person was involved. The time for clicky conservation outings is surely over. For the life in these traditionally managed Mecca’s to leach back into the wider world more attention to enlisting the whole community is essential. Whilst the efforts of those wiling to give up their Sundays to do some good, does not go unnoticed, it also goes some way to alienating the very people who alone make the whole operation sustainable.”