23 Mar 2021

Field Notes: Local Members' Groups go digital

The John Muir Trust’s Local Members’ Groups are going digital with their spring series of talks.

Ring Ouzel - Scotland Big Picture

This year's Local Members’ Group events kicked off on St Patrick's Day - 17 March - with our NW England group holding their first online gathering.

Hosts Jude Lane and Dominick Spracklen welcomed: Pete Barron and Isaac Johnston, our rangers on Glenridding Common; Kevin Cumming, the Trust’s Land Operations Manager (South) and Project Manager for the Langholm community buyout; Tasmin Fletcher of Restoring Hardknott Forest, with Dominick speaking on the Wild Ingleborough project.

Pete and Isaac gave an update on some of the excellent work that has been happening on the slopes of Helvellyn for the past three years. Pete told the 110-strong audience of the new lease extension with the Lake District National Park, as well as the growing landscape-scale conservation now possible with the Trust’s involvement at Thirlmere.

Isaac provided an interesting presentation on monitoring at Glenridding Common, sharing details of the huge range of species found there. It provided some eye-opening data about how the naturally regenerating juniper enclosure is providing a habitat for a wealth of birds, such as ring ouzels (pictured at the top of the page).

The Langholm buyout caused waves in 2020, when the local community managed to purchase 5,200 acres of land from the Buccleuch Estate. Kevin Cumming, who led the campaign, spoke about the moor and its potential lifeline for the community who surround it.


Langholm Moor

The vision for this southern Scotland project is to regenerate the largely degraded moorland, create an economic boom for the local economy, with the ultimate aim of creating the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

Back in northern England, Dominick Spracklen told the audience about the broad partnership project that is Wild Ingleborough in north Yorkshire. Ingleborough is one of the three peaks – Pen-y-Gent, Whernside and Ingleborough itself – and is a landscape with lots of potential to restore wildlife habitats alongside restorative farming.

It is still a relatively new project, so there is lots still to come and new roles still available to be applied for.

Finally, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, NW England Local Group volunteers managed to get out on volunteering days when restrictions allowed in 2020. Tasmin gave an update on some of the great work that she, her colleagues John and Craig, and their hardy volunteers have been getting up to at Hardknott Forest.

The project in the Duddon Valley is supported by Leeds University in partnership with Forestry England and sees the removal of non-native sitka and the planting of native birch, willow, rowan and oak. Those interested in volunteering can sign-up to the Restoring Hardknott Forest newsletter.

Rewatch the NW England Local Members' Gathering event


More events coming soon...

London Members' Gathering: Members's and non-Members are invited to join us online on 28 April, where our guests include Sarah Xu, author of the upcoming Just Space report into biodiversity in London.

NE Scotland Local Members’ Gathering: On 5 May, join us to hear rising conservation star Gus Routledge talk about how he got into a career in ecology and, at just 23-years-old, is a trustee for Scotland: The Big Picture.

  • Keep an eye on our event pages for all of our events.

Photograph of ring ouzel by Mark Hamblin / scotlandbigpicture.com and photo of Kevin Cumming at Langholm by David Lintern

Cotton flowers - David Lintern

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