I had an interesting excursion south, at the end of last week.
Aerial bracken control
The first stop was to give a presentation about the work of the Bracken Control Group (BCG) and the successful Emergency Authorisation application for asulam. My presentation formed part of The Robson Meeting that took place at St Ives in Cambridgeshire. It was an odd part of the country for me to be in, and I had to started my presentation by asking delegates to imagine some hills to provide an appropriate context. The scenery outside was completely flat - the so called 'big sky country'. It was a useful opportunity to spread the word about the work of the BCG in the hope that other groups can benefit from our experience. See the bracken control website for a copy of the presentation and other bracken information.
Geoff Eyre + restored heather
On the way back, Patrick Laurie joined me and we made two stops in the Peak District. The first was to spend some time with Geoff Eyre to catch up with the progress of his groundbreaking work on heather restoration. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious. Some people may be worried about the level of intervention that he advocates, but there is no doubting the success of his methods and his ability to put heather back where it has been lost.
The second stop was to meet Chris Dean, the Project Manager of the Moors for the Future (MFF) project. Chris started work for the MFF project shortly after I started at the Trust, and we have kept in contact throughout. It was a useful discussion and I hope that I can find a way to support the desire of the MFF project to develop stronger links with landowners and land managers in the Peak District. One suggestion is that we should help to run a series of events to provide briefings on topical subjects such as: bracken control, sheep ticks, heather management (cutting and/or burning), plant diseases (including phytophthora species) and possibly a discussion to cover peatland management. If this idea develops, I would hope to involve other organisations so that we can provide an even-handed view of moorland management issues. Suggestions would be welcome from anybody in the Peak District about topics that we should consider.