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.