Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Heather Trust in Pickering ~ 2nd October 2013

This last week has included a visit to Pickering, to set up for the AGM and the associated discussion meeting, that we are organising for 2nd October.  

The venue for the meeting is the White Swan Inn, at Pickering, which justifies attending the meeting on its own.  

The morning session will be a discussion meeting and a topic we will be focusing on will be the comparison between cutting and burning for managing heather.  It is an issue that has come to the fore recently and this year we are investigating whether enough use is made of cutting as an adjunct to burning.  There are those who swear that cutting or burning is the only way to manage heather, but I think there is a strong argument in favour of using the two techniques in conjunction.  Cutting can be used to develop a small scale mosaic of heather and this can have benefits for grouse.

In the afternoon, we will be visiting Goathland Moor and this promises to be an excellent visit as in adition to excellent examples of cutting and burning, the moor offers a little bit of everything: from grouse, through heather beetle, to the construction of ponds.  We will be circulating invitations, this coming week to people who are in range that we think might be interested in this gathering, but if anyone would like to pre-empt this, please let us know.

The AGM will take place back at the White Swan Inn after a well-earned cup of tea and the day's activities will conclude with a Board meeting.  There will be no shortage of entertainment, but it will be a good opportunity for the Trust to 'strut its stuff' in an area where we have not held our AGM before.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

'No Silent Spring' in The Scotsman 24 August

The Scotsman picked up my letter to them that reflected my support for Adam Smith's article in the paper on 20 August.  See yesterday's Blog post.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Grouse moors can help diversity and the economy

Adam Smith is Director Scotland for Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust but he is also a Board Member of The Heather Trust.  He has been punching his weight in the pages of The Scotsman and I recommend his article to anyone with an interest in the management of our moorland and upland areas.

I support and endorse his views completely, which are at the core of The Heather Trust.

Balanced management of our moorlands and uplands is essential if we are to hold onto them as vibrant dynamic areas of the country that support society (through their natural (ecosystem) services), maintain their unique ranges of habitats and species, continue to underpin many cultural activities,  provide an income that supports the people and communities that live in these areas that in turn maintain the features that make these areas so attractive for visitors.  It is a complicated list of inter-related features and activities but, as Adam has pointed out, if we allow these areas to unravel, as has happened in parts of the UK, we are left with impoverished land that is denuded of all the features that make the areas so special.

It is far from being all bad news and there are many areas where sensitive management is delivering all the benefits I have outlined, but even in these exemplar areas there is room for improvement.  Adam has singled out Wales as a case study where it has gone wrong and I share his concerns.  This was why I was pleased to have been invited to contribute to an embryonic Moorland Initiative that the CLA is leading in Wales that is promoting the benefits that CLA members could bring to the uplands in Wales if they are given encouragement.  It is an issue that I will be pleased to support in an effort to reverse the decline of the Welsh moorlands and move away from the 'silent spring' state.

Grouse shooting is not for everyone, and it is not appropriate in all moorland areas, but where it does work it provides a focus for income generation and input that acts as a catalyst for activity that spins off to provide much wider benefits to the local area and to the habitats and species that live in these areas.

Monday, 19 August 2013

England: Defra unveils plans to move CAP money 'uphill'

See the article in today's Farmers Guardian.

Look for the comments about:

  • The retention of the three-region system: 
    • Lowland areas (i.e. land outside severely disadvantaged areas) 
    • Severely disadvantaged areas, and
    • Moorland
  • The shift of funding away from the lowland areas into the other uphill areas; and
  • The increase in the minimum claim size to 5 ha.
It would be boring if it was simple!

IUCN UK Peatland Programme - Conference

Investing in Peatlands: 
Partnership for a New Era
10th – 12th September 2013, York

We're pleased to annouce that our Key Note speaker will be Ian Dickie from Aldersgate Group.
If you haven't register yet, do so now! 
The latest 'Investing in Peatlands' Conference organised by the IUCN UK National Committee Peatland Programme is set for 10th -12th September 2013 at York University.
The fourth in the series of conferences, this year's theme is 'Partnership for a New Peatland Era' and will explore how the conservation, government and business sectors come together to meet the challenge of restoring a million hectares of peatlands through partnership approaches. The conference will highlight examples of good practice, identify barriers that still need to be broken down and highlight opportunities for taking forward partnership action both in the UK and internationally.
For more up-to-date information about the conference programme please visit our website
To register for this event please click here

Standard registration closing August 27th 2013
IF YOU WISH TO PAY BY INVOICE PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE FOR THIS IN MONDAY 19TH OF AUGUST, after this date you will have to register by credit card - Please get in touch for more details. 
Poster session: Research and Partnerships for Peatland RestorationA poster session will run from 17:00 - 18:30 on 10th September on research and partnership for peatland restoration. To ensure high attendance and a relaxed atmosphere in which to connect with other delegates around your poster topic, a peatland themed guest beer will be provided at all delegates attending the session. Presenters are expected to be available to answer questions from delegates next to their posters for the duration of the poster session.
Submission: If you would like to present a poster, please submit your poster title when you register for the event. Posters will be screened for relevance (but will not be subject to a full review process). You should assume that your poster has been accepted for the event unless you are contacted to discuss concerns over relevance.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Wildfire 2013 - Conference August Newsletter

To Book Your Delegate Place and Conference Dinner ...
... go to our website at where you will find full details about how to book online and the costs. You can pay quickly and easily via debit or credit card but if you require an invoice for payment please call 01765 609355 or e-mail the Wildfire Team at Don't forget to add the conference dinner to your booking - it will a great networking opportunity and great value for money!

The Venue
Don't forget to book your accommodation at the Vale Hotel - preferential rates only apply to bookings made before Tuesday, 27th August 2013 - just quote "WILDFIRE 2013".
Wildfire 2013 is taking place at the Vale Resort, Hensol, near Cardiff on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd October 2013. As well as being an excellent conference venue it offers some of the best leisure and golf facilities in Europe. Contact the Vale and quote 'Wildfire 2013' to secure a preferential room rate of £75.00 (ex VAT). This offer lasts until 27th August.

Wildfire 2013 is shaping up to have the largest display of wildfire related equipment and services to date. From vehicles to clothing, weather instruments to pumps, all will be on show at Wildfire 2013. Exhibitors booked to date include:

Ballyclare Ltd

CFM Services

Delta Fire Ltd

Fire Fogging Systems Ltd

Flamepro (UK) Ltd

Godiva Ltd

Hunter Apparel Solutions & Texport

LHD Group (UK) Ltd

Openhouse Products Ltd

South Cave Unimog

Speedings Ltd

Terberg DTS UK

Land Management Adviser Vacancy - LL&TNPA

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority (what a mouthful of a name) is seeking a Land Management Adviser.

For details see the LL&TNPA (the acronym is not much better) website.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Wildfire Spanish style

And we think we have a problem with wildfire.  How's about this one in Spain?  Look at the resources that are deployed to tackle it - 550 firefighters backed by 17 water-carrying aircraft.

The threat to wildfire in this country is nothing like as extreme, at the moment, but that does not mean we should not be following the lead set by countries who have greater experience of wildfire: we need to plan and prepare for wildfire.  It is not 'if', it is 'when' it will happen.

Read more here:

Friday, 2 August 2013

New uplands academy offers support to next generation

I was pleased to learn about this new academy that aims to develop the next generation of upland farmers.  See the article in the Darlington & Stockton Times.

We need farmers to provide the management we all aspire to for the uplands. Without farming input upland habitats would quickly degenerate and all the infrastructure that we take for granted, walls/ dykes, paths, fences, gates would disappear.  To provide emphasis on the important role that stock have in shaping our uplands, I am fond of saying that the ultimate manager of moorland usually goes 'baa' or 'moo'.

The article includes a quote from Julia Aglionby, Director of the National Centre for the Uplands.  We are supporting the work of the Centre and the Trust's Annual Report, which will be published next week, includes an article about the Centre and a project (Better Outcomes for Upland Commons) that the Trust is contributing to.