News from around the countryside – February 16


Feb 7: Edinburgh castle valued

It has been revealed that the Treasury has placed a value of less than £2 million on Edinburgh Castle. There are some homes worth twice that amount in Scotland. Obviously Her Majesty’s bookkeepers failed to include intrinsic value when adding up the figures. (Scotsman)

Feb 12: Church to sell up

York Minster is to sell a number of properties in the city, but the proceeds will not help a £23million restoration appeal for the ancient building. A spokeswoman said the money raised will go into other assets to bring a better return on investment. A mixture of commercial and residential properties owned by the Dean and Chapter are to be put on the market, possibly within the next 12 months. The spokeswoman said she could not yet identify which properties were likely to be involved but she confirmed that neither the deanery nor the canons’ houses behind the Minster would be sold. (Northern Echo)


Feb 9: Ancient tradition to be used to protect lake from harmful sediment

An ancient tradition is making a comeback around Bassenthwaite where Middle Age methods are offering a solution to riverbank erosion. In an attempt to halt harmful sediment, which is hitting the lake’s spawning ground and affecting important fish species, willow spiling has proved to be an original green solution. It is hoped that weaving live willow rods between stakes that will take root on riverbanks, will stabilise earth and significantly cut the amount of soil entering watercourses feeding into Bassenthwaite Lake (Cumberland News)

9 Feb: Virus threat to squirrels

Up-to-date figures from a project to conserve the red squirrel in southern Scotland show that 27 grey squirrels have tested positive for squirrelpox antibodies in Dumfries and Galloway. (Cumberland News)

12 Feb: Nature reserve’s £50,000 windfall

A Somerset nature reserve has received £50,000 from an environmental trust. Viridor Credits Somerset has given the money to the Hawk and Owl Trust towards buying 55 hectares of arable land on Shapwick Moor. The overall aim of the project is to transform the area, which is an established site of Special Scientific Interest, into a haven for wildlife. (Western Daily Press)


Feb 9: Miliband accused of ignoring interests of organic farmers in ‘flawed’ GM consultation

The Conservatives are calling for an urgent meeting with Defra Secretary David Miliband, who they accuse of ignoring the interests of organic farmers and consumers. (Farmers Guardian)

Feb 9: Protecting Welsh national heritage

Farmers and landowners are praised in a new Countryside Council for Wales report surveying Sites of Special Scientific Interest ? to the extent that it recommends giving those with SSSIs on their land priority access into the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme. (Farmers Guardian)

Feb 15: Region’s farmers are hit worst by industry decline

Farms in the North are among those in the greatest danger of disappearing unless consumers buy more British produce and farmers get a fairer deal in return for their efforts, a survey shows. (Northern Echo)

Feb 9: £160Mm sales boom for auction marts

Cumbria’s auction markets experienced a sales bonanza last year, turning over £160 million worth of livestock, surpassing pre-foot and mouth figures for the first time. Until last year, the marts were making a slow and gradual recovery since the epidemic hit the county and devastated the livestock industry six years ago. (Cumberland News)

Recommended videos for you


Feb 9: Call for food miles labelling

The major supermarket chains were challenged this week to show their true colours and disclose just how far their meat supplies had travelled. Consumers would regulate food miles by automatically choosing the lowest miles displayed in the knowledge the beef and lamb available was of the highest quality available anywhere in the world. It was also being suggested that food miles stickers should be clearly visible from a distance of three metres ? and not something as small as possible stuck on the back of the packet or wrap just to comply. (Farmers Guardian)

Feb 9: First marmalade festival spreads the word

Cumbrians are playing their part in saving Paddington Bear’s favourite food from disappearing from breakfast tables. The World’s First Ever Marmalade Festival takes place on Sunday, February 18 at Dalemain Estate near Penrith, to celebrate the long-established toast topping. (Cumberland News)


Feb 9: Humble vegetable that could revolutionise everything from fishing-rods to battleships

From dangling to angling. The humble carrot is set to be used in ways never imagined before, thanks to a discovery by two Scottish scientists who have found a way to convert the vegetable into an advanced material to make products from fishing rods to warships.



Feb 7: Shetlanders recently celebrated Up Helly Aa with the ceremonial torching of a Norse long boat. (Scotsman)


Feb 13: Protesters lose wind turbines battle

Campaigners who fought a plan to build nine wind turbines more than twice the height of Exeter Cathedral in a Devon valley are “devastated” that a planning inspector has given it the go-ahead. (Western Morning News)


Feb 9: Group set up to help our rural services

Three local MPs have joined a new Parliamentary group that aims to protect rural services such as post offices, schools and cottage hospitals. Carlisle Labour MP Eric Martlew, Penrith and the Border Conservative David Maclean and fellow Tory David Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, are among 68 founder members of the cross-party parliamentary group on rural services. (Cumberland News)

Feb 12: Now village stores get networking

A network to help rural sub post offices and village stores share information and advice is being set up. (Western Daily Press)

Feb 14: Our vanishing pubs

Pubs are shutting down at the rate of almost 60 a month- or two every day. (Western Morning News)


Feb 12: Housewife Janine ready for Aintree glory

A housewife is in training to ride the world-famous Aintree course on Grand National Day. Janine Patchcott, 40, of Stanley, County Durham, has made it through to the final 16 vying to ride in the John Smith’s People’s Race. The event gives ten members of the public the chance to ride in a flat race on Grand National Day and raise £100,000 for charity. (Northern Echo)

Feb 12: Stars back hunt event

Big names from the world of music were unveiled last night in the line-up for a concert in aid of the hunting campaign.The Countryside Alliance will benefit from staging a concert at Highclere Castle, near Swindon, in May. Topping the bill is ex-Roxy Music crooner Bryan Ferry. His appearance is no surprise as his son Otis is a leading pro-hunt campaigner and hunt master. Ferry will be joined on stage by the likes of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Jon Anderson and Gary Brooker, along with Kenney Jones and the Jones Gang and Mike d’Abo. Tickets for the concert range from £50 for under-19s to £75 for adults, and as much as £175 for a VIP pass, which includes dinner and drinks in a VIP tent. (Western Daily Press)