This week sees a high-profile celebration of the British countryside, a cause very close to our hearts at Dalefoot. Between Monday 14th and Sunday 20th July, National Countryside Week will be running, organised by The Prince’s Countryside Fund. The event is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate the British countryside and the people who live and work in our rural areas.
As farmers for many generations, from the heart of the Lake District, we embrace campaigns such as this that raise the profile of our beautiful landscape and the farmers, workers and communities who take care of it. And at Dalefoot we strongly believe in making our own contribution to taking care of our countryside environment.
Harvesting bracken, an invasive plant that causes problems for native flora and fauna as well as hill farmers, is a key part of our peat free compost production. The ever increasing bracken cover is not only taking over the landscape, but also causes real issues for farmers. The gathering of flocks has become very difficult through waist high bracken and this aggressive plant competes with other native vegetation so other plants fail and available grazing is reduced. Bracken has become a problem - ecologically and economically - so what better, more sustainable solution than to harvest it in a managed way, thereby husbanding the beautiful hills of the Lake District and utilising a resource in a way that it used to be many years ago.
Helping to save our nation’s rural peat bogs is also something we champion. Did you know that as well as sheep farming and making peat free compost, we are also one of the leading contractors undertaking specialised peatland restoration works? Working for clients such as Natural England, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Cumbria Wildlife Trust, we can take bare peat back to a living carpet of peat-forming sphagnum vegetation in one year through our innovative, patented techniques and machinery on both upland peat bogs and lowland mire.