Thursday, 27 February 2014

Wildfire in February 2014?

Photo: Harry Charnock
You must be joking, I hear you say, but no, it happened last week, near Aberystwyth.  See the article in The Daily Post.  This only serves to demonstrate that Mother Nature is a fickle lady, and while we may all be sploshing around in our wellies, and reeling from the wettest conditions that anyone wants to remember, things can change quickly.

If Mother Nature turns off the taps, and that yellow orb starts to do its work, conditions can change quickly.  We could easily be into dry vegetation and even dry ground conditions by the 'wildfire season' in late March / early April.  It seems unlikely, but will you be ready?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Better Outcomes for Upland Commons

The Foundation for Common Land has asked for my support with a case study on Bampton Common in Cumbria, which adjoins Haweswater. This is part of a national project that has been established with support from HRH The Prince of Wales.

The aims are stated to be to improve working relations, or interaction, between organisations to strengthen our ability to safeguard and manage the uplands.  The concept behind the project is to gather views from commoners and a range of other interests from a number of commons across England about how better relations can be established.  These will be collated and presented for discussion.  It is a similar concept to the Upland Solutions project that I ran for Scotland's Moorland Forum in 2009-2011.

The other case studies are taking place in the Yorkshire Dales, on the North York Moors, on the Long Mynd in Shropshire and on Dartmoor.  I will be conducting face to face interviews with commoners, and other people I have selected, and then bringing everyone together for a workshop.  I have a local commoner and a representative of the RSPB assisting me with the coordination of the study, and together we will be bringing all the views expressed together into a case study report that will feed into the overall report from the project.

Haweswater is a United Utilities reservoir, which forms part of the water supply for Manchester, and much of the land surrounding the reservoir is managed for United Utilities by the RSPB.  Bampton Common is on the west side of the reservoir and runs over the High Street ridge.  I expect that there will be a large range of interesting issues that influence the management of the common and local views about these issues will provide very valuable input for the project.

This is work that fits very well with the objectives of the Trust, and I am delighted to be able to have some input.  Although in sight of HT HQ, I have not had as much input into The Lake District as I would have liked, but I hope that this work will change this.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Peatland Code

Do you want to know more about the Peatland Code?  This short presentation from the IUCN UK Peatland Programme provides a quick view of the key features of the Code.  It also provides some useful figures about how much restoration can be expected to cost as well as links to more information.

If like me, you struggle with the acronym EMTF in slide 3, it is decoded at the bottom of the slide as: Ecosystems Market Task Force.  So now you know!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Moorland Association - New Director

Welcome to Amanda Anderson in the new post as Director of The Moorland Association.  I look forward to working with her and continuing our close links to the Moorland Association.

There are more details about Amanda and the work of the Moorland Association in the announcement on their website.