Sustaining livelihoods and landscape at Loweswater Authors: Lisa

Sustaining livelihoods and landscape at Loweswater Authors: Lisa

Sustaining livelihoods and landscape at
Authors: Lisa Norton1, John Rockliffe2, Helen Bennion3, Angus Winchester4 and Nick Haycock5
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Lancaster, Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg, Lancs, LA1 4AP, UK [email protected]; 2 Mitchells Auction Company Ltd, Cockermouth,
Cumbria 3 Dr Helen Bennion, Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London, Pearson Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
[email protected]; Department of History, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YG, UK [email protected]; Haycock Associates Limited, Suite 1, Deer Park Business Centre,
Eckington, Pershore, Worcs, WR10 3DN; [email protected]

This work forms part of a Rural Economy and
Land Use (RELU) project on Community
Catchment Management at Loweswater. The
project is focused on 1) understanding the
relationships between the community, land and
water at Loweswater and 2) investigating the
potential for the community to work alongside
other stakeholders in the management of the
catchment. The project arises out of and builds
on previous work in the Loweswater catchment
and the commitment shown by farmers in the
catchment towards improving lake water quality.

Loweswater catchment in brief
Landscape & agricultural
In the Lake District National
management (2010)
Park designated as a quiet
Attractive mixed landscape
Fell 48%, In-bye 37%, Woodland 13%
Small catchment (~8km) and
and Buildings 2%
lake (<1km) Small fields with152km of boundary features , over 450 individual trees 8 sheep and cattle farmers 22 permanent dwellings (most with land outside of catchment) ~ 50 permanent residents + visitors Church and pub just outside of Many farmers have diversified into B&B etc, agricultural income catchment but no local school, ranges 32-58% of farm income, of the remainder, most is shop,from or health provision from the Single Payment Schemes or agri-environment schemes. Total farming profit in the year of the survey was comparable with that for NW farms of this type, on average 7k. Despite similarities between enterprises, (largely beef and sheep), there is high variability between the 8 farmers in the catchment in terms of ; farm size, field size, stocking rate, boundary types and management, income and labour 6 farmers in the catchment are over 50 yrs old, 3 of those have potential inheritors one of whom already farms elsewhere in the Linear features on farms in the catchment catchment area Historical information 8 Marked land use change 19451965 7 6 Fence only 5 Wall only 4 Hedge 3 Horses nitrate Lines of trees 2 Arable Pastoral increase 55-72 1 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 70% of walls are in good condition, 30% show signs of deterioration Research in the catchment reveals that it has previously been heavily mined as well as farmed and retains historic land use features including raised becks and stone and earth banks. Human influence on the catchment is set against a background of ongoing geological change influenced by climate. Tractors 3-fold Date Holdings No. of cows No. of sheep 1614 48 450 3700 1850 24 1941 22 362 4977 2009 8 194 1417 5500 In the mid nineteenth century liming and tile draining What do we want from dramatically the catchment? changed the landscape lake climate regulation, air quality, Ecosystem services may include;and water, biodiversity, habitat diversity, cultural identity, recreation, aesthetic enjoyment, inspirations, heritage etc. Who is going to provide it? Currently 8 farmers manage the landscape for very little net income. They manage in the most cost/resource effective manner, capital works money from agri-environment schemes has resulted in repaired walls and some hedge planting/maintenance. For some farmers these activities are too labour intensive and not worth doing. Future management of the catchment is potentially in the hands of still fewer farmers who will have more to do in terms of managing larger numbers of stock. What role tradition? Integrated science for our changing world Back to horses and no fertiliser? Where will the farmers come from and what

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