There is something sad and poignant about coming across the ruins of a farmstead or cottage anywhere in the British uplands. Who lived there – when – and what were their lives like?
here we are going to follow the story about the decline of nearly 50 farmhouses, round Brinscall.
Any farming is hard, and farming on this land id very hard work and even harder to make a profit We used to farm on land backing on to the fells. Hard work, many quite poor farmers working that land. Yet when we looked up the hills on to the fells which is only used to graze sheep in the summer, we could see derelict buildings that were farms 100 years ago. Those were days when they didn’t have telephones, quad bikes and other modern means to make life more pleasant. With many people ‘wanting to get away’ surely these areas are more habitable than then. Yet there lands are now mainly for grouse shooting – probably the least sustainable form of food devised. The land is bracken, burnt every few years, probably the least carbon friendly technique invented. This land could provide animal feed the whole year round, using a few barns to house cattle/sheep in the worst conditions. In other words, move the animals up the hills, where it si impossible to grow crops. Putting animal further up hills uses what animals good at – utilizing difficult land – their natural role, compared to the barley beef in barns all day
Much of the UK is classed as 'Rough Grazing' Some 4 mil hectares in Scotland are designated as Clas 7 or 6.1 according to the Macauley Land Use Classificatiion The UK provides about the same area of Rogh Grazing as the whole of the rest of Europe (get Stats). Is this becasuse we have that amount of poor land - ori s itbecasue the rest of Europe makes more use of its land?
See next page for the lost farms of Brinscall..