It's all the fun of the farm for Cumbria families
Last modified: 11 June 2012
This Sunday (17 June), RSPB Geltsdale welcomes visitors to Tarnhouse Farm to discover the important part local farmers play in protecting the Pennines landscape and wildlife.
Meeting at 10 am at the reserve car park, visitors will have a unique chance to take a meandering walk through Tarnhouse Farm, a large hill farm in the North Pennines that makes up part of the RSPB Geltsdale Reserve. Guided by knowledgeable RSPB staff, they will explore the special upland landscape where careful farming practices are used to protect some of the area’s most important wildlife species, including black grouse, lapwing, curlew and snipe.
Farmer, John Errington, will be on hand to introduce some of his ‘living lawnmowers’ – a special combination of 92 suckler cows and 500 breeding ewes that graze the farmland to create a rich habitat for wildlife species to thrive.
Visitors will learn how the more varied vegetation produced by cattle grazing has helped restore populations of iconic birds such as black grouse, whose populations have increased substantially in the last decade at Geltsdale, even at a time when the North Pennines has seen some the worst winters on record.
The event coincides with the publication of an in-depth case study based at Tarnhouse which shows how the special RSPB farming operation plays a vital role in conserving the Pennines environment whilst remaining commercially viable. Alongside food production, the farm makes a major contribution to the local community by protecting wildlife, creating carbon-rich soils and improving water-quality.
Ian Ryding, RSPB Farmland Warden, said: “The Pennines form a rich and diverse landscape that provides a great many benefits for wildlife, people and our local environment.
“Farming remains a vital part of how we manage Geltsdale Nature Reserve and this event is a chance for visitors to see how livestock influences the character of the landscape and the wildlife here.
“We’ll see lapwing and redshank chicks, learn to recognise bird calls and our farmer, John, will provide families with a special behind the scenes look at his sheep farm.
“It will be a great opportunity to get the family in the fresh air for a unique summer’s day out.”
For more information about this, and future events at RSPB Geltsdale, visit www.rspb.org.uk/geltsdale.
How you can help
From scrub bashing to guided walks, the RSPB run events all around the UK
Find an event near you