• 5 Waiting in the White Stuff

    Winter held fast in Langdale last week. While the sun crept over the ridge of Lingmoor we sat in the warmth of Millbeck Farm with Eric and Sue Taylforth, and later we headed up into the fells behind them, where some of their herdwicks had ventured down from the commons to take advantage of winter feed.

    Our meeting with Eric and Sue showed a side of farming we're not yet familiar with - they are the first we have spoken to who have decided not to enter the new Higher Level Entry scheme. They are sufficiently confident about their herdwick meat sales and B&B/self-catering business to say no to the scheme. As such they are able to avoid the constraints of reduced stock numbers and the pressure to take their sheep off the fell in winter - but there are inevitably repercussions and this is an issue that affects the whole common, as well as their individual farm. We'll be taking a look at this in more detail over the coming months, when we have spoken to other farmers whose sheep graze the common, as well as people from Natural England, whose job it i to adminster the stewardship schemes.

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