This year has been unprecedented in so many ways but just one of the unforeseen effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the extraordinary rise in the number of people visiting the countryside. Throughout the lockdown period people took advantage of the good weather to explore footpaths and beauty spots close to their homes, while the authorities argued about how far it was safe to travel to take exercise. Continue reading
Before Coronavirus overtook all of our lives the Government were making major noises about greatly increasing the area of new tree planting each year. Indeed back at the last general election it seemed almost like an auction as to which political party could bid highest. The Committee on Climate Change have advocated planting 30,000 hectares of new woodland a year as part of a national solution to become carbon neutral by 2050 and this is the basis of current government thinking. Continue reading
There is much speculation regarding how the forthcoming Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) will benefit farmers as EU basic farm payments are withdrawn. Many farmers see ELMS as being a simple extension of the existing Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CS) but politicians are asking why should the Government give £3 billion each year to Agriculture in the first place? Surely farmers need to justify and prove this level of benefit to society. Continue reading
The mystery of Drakes Island has captivated many of us in recent decades, as it sits silent, isolated and locked away to all. At the heart of Plymouth Sound, it is a key feature within the landscape, and seen from the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall, much of Plymouth and around to Wembury Point; it can even be seen from Dartmoor.
In 1135 it was referred to as St. Michaels after the chapel that stood upon it, rededicated to become St. Nicolas’ at some time after. The Island kept this name until the early 20th century, when it adopted the name of Sir Francis Drake. He had been made governor of the island in 1583, not long after its first fortifications in 1549, and it is from then that the island started a long and unbroken military history.
Drake’s Island is a scheduled monument and considered of high heritage significance Continue reading
In this job we are always learning, and a slight change from the normal this week was undertaking some temporary pond creation at Crowdy Reservoir for South West Lakes Trust. The work was part of Buglife’s Marvellous Mud Snails project. And yes Mud Snails were new to me as well, though they did bring to mind Desmoulin’s Snail, which was briefly a cause celebre when they held up major works to upgrade the Newbury by-pass back in the 1980s. Continue reading
I have been asked to write a blog about the new farm support grant, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). This is due to replace the current Basic Farm Payment Scheme, aims to incentivise farmers to achieve environmental enhancement and protection and restore and improve natural capital and rural heritage.
Trial for ELMS schemes have just started and will run until 2022. Pilots will then run until 2024 with the scheme currently planned to roll out from 2025. Given the current political uncertainty, and the lack of information being put forward by Defra, there is not a lot one can definitely say on the subject. Six years seems a very long lead in period for a scheme which was first muted back in 2015. I think however that it is well worth considering some of the consequences that this long gestation might have.
I am the newest member of the team at Land and Heritage Ltd. When I was asked to write an article for our regular blog spot, I was a bit stumped – I’ve not been here that long, and having relocated to Cornwall from the East Midlands, I am still finding my feet in the South-West. So I’ve gone back to basics – my remit for the business is to expand the services offered to include Landscape Architecture, so for the benefit of past, present and future clients I will pose the simple question: Continue reading
Castell Powys, or Powis Castle as the English know it, is a wonderful, striking medieval fortress and country mansion, sitting high on a hill overlooking the River Severn. Once know as the ‘Red Castle’, it is internationally recognised for its high red terraces and battlements, which are clothed in enormous and ancient clipped yew topiary. Continue reading
Over the past few years we have seen a number of milestone reports leading to shifts in Government policy which aim to halt the decline of biodiversity across the UK. The first inkling of change was the Lawton report “Making Space for Nature: A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network” published by Defra in 2010 which identified that the existing system of protected sites and reserves was inadequate and insufficient to halt the rapid decline in UK wildlife. Some of the recommendations of this report passed into policy In 2011 within the Government White Paper “The Natural Choice – securing the value of nature”. Last year saw the publication of the 25-year Environment Plan which makes it clear that all future industrial, residential and infrastructure development is dependent on improving conditions for wildlife. Continue reading