Biodiversity: Seat Hill Farm
Farmers David and Billy Brough are proud owners of a piece of land through which runs a public right of way linking Newtown in the north and Irthington in the south. Walkers frequently use this route and can enjoy views across to the west and south which encompass the Lake District and North Pennines.
David and Billy are keen to see the south end of this field managed for wildlife, to include a mix of trees that encourage carbon sequestration and provide an improved habitat for insects, birds and mammals.
The plan is to develop the bank on the south, which is currently covered in bracken and not used for pasture. In addition, hedgerows can be planted or ‘repaired’ with new shrubs, including a ‘cutting’ to the north where already there is a healthy mix of deciduous trees.
The pathway will become more clearly defined with a 400m length of fencing on the field side to prevent livestock damaging the new saplings.
As with all such projects, plans need to be carefully drawn up to consider the animals and plants that already live there. It wouldn’t serve the aim of increasing biodiversity if planting of trees caused damage to the habitat of existing valuable species of meadow flowers. Therefore, a thorough botanical survey will be undertaken before major planting takes place. However, initial inspection of the area suggests there is only a small area where bluebells grow and examples of Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) which will need to be considered.
Trees considered for planting on the bank include Oak, Birch, Rowan, Alder, Hornbeam, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Goat Willow, Crab Apple, Scots Pine (only native conifer)
For hedge planting and infill, we are considering beech, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, crab apple, and dog rose.
At present, we have made an application for support through the Woodland Trust’s MOREWoods fund. We have already received support from CAfS to initiate a launch event for B2Z (at the time of writing – Feb 2022.) The Seat Hill project has been chosen as a focus.
At B2Z, we consider the educational aspects of our work as vital. This is why we are keen to make links with the local school at Irthington. Through these we hope to encourage nature study, guided tours of the site and a possible Forest School initiative. Notice boards providing information about the wildlife in this stretch of the public right of way will further add to the educational impact.
In just a few short years, the Brough brothers and B2Z hope to see walkers enjoying an enhanced route through community woodland, improved wellbeing for the community, an increase in wildlife and a step forward to reducing Brampton’s carbon footprint.