Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Green Tourism

Roeburnscar achieved a gold standard from Green Tourism. Thank you to Forest of Bowland AONB for help and encouragement, Treshnish Farm, Mull, for inspiration and Green Tourism for the gold .

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dead Wood--no, not the series!

To some people trunks and decaying logs covered in fungi suggest disease and neglect rather than part of sensitive woodland management. Far from being undesirable, deadwood provides essential habitat for birds, the insects and beetles they feed on, and a vast array of fungi. Referring to British woodlands, a study by WWF says 1/5th of our invertebrates reliant on dead or decaying wood are now in the International Red Data Book of those threatened with extinction.
            this old tree bole is teaming with small wildlife

a beautiful natural sculpture!
Cutting back rhododendron is  manual work
British practices of coppicing and pollarding which encourages regrowth, opens up the tree canopy allowing in light that is needed for wildflower glades and insects such as butterflies. Lack of light has a negative impact on biodiversity. Our rhodedendron patches need to be destroyed by continual cutting away at new growth, and in it's place native trees which benefit our wildlife.
Healthy woodland with dappled sunlight encouraging wild flowers
 In ancient times, fallen trees would have created rotting wood for wildlife and allowed sunlight to come through to the ground but now it has to be done by a carefully managed plan which means leaving fallen timber. Roeburndale woods have been managed for centuries and long may they do so.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bats Waking Up

A colony of pipistrelle bats have always loved to make their home in the spaces between the boarding of elm planks on the farm. Watch the video taken by Stefan on the farm and you'll see one yawning and another preening it's wing ready for the evening flight-feast of midgies. Earlier on in the year a few from another colony under the eaves  found their way into our house and had to be rescued.
photo by Stefan

Bats huddled together- photo by Stefan
A bedraggled pipistrelle rescued from our kitchen sink earlier on in the summer

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

More on the Forest of Bowland "highly commended" award

                           Here is the summary of Backsbottom Farm's commended award:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Forest of Bowland awards

Thank you Forest of Bowland for awarding Backsbottom Farm the "specially commended" status.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hen Harriers in The Forest of Bowland

 Following on from the shocking news that "Sky" and "Hope"--the two Forest of Bowland hen harrier fledglings have mysteriously!!! disappeared on their home turf even though the nest had been monitored previously before they flew, it has been announced that a 5 year programme will be launched in the UK . The Hen Harrier Project  will be " aiming ‘to achieve a secure and sustainable future’ for hen harriers in northern England and parts of southern and eastern Scotland.
Funded by the EU LIFE scheme, this project will include elements of monitoring (at nests and key winter roosts as well as funding a national hen harrier survey in 2016), satellite tagging, habitat management, investigations work (two new RSPB Investigation Officer posts have been funded), community engagement, community consultation and stakeholder engagement.
The project will focus on seven so-called Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated for breeding hen harriers, two in England and five in Scotland. These are:
Bowland Fells"  .....and others.
                                 Let's hope this beautiful bird gets the protection it deserves
                                           PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANAND PRASAD

Female "sky dancer"
Male hen harrier

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Our Vietnamese Water Filter

Our farm house water comes from the fells but it is has a lot of orange/red sludge which needs taking out before coming into our tap . All the farms up the valley have spring fell water and are not on mains like the village but ours is particularly prone to iron oxydisation, so:

from this
we can get this
the hollow blue container holds our house water and is housed inside the solid black one

the iron oxidises into red iron oxide on contact with oxygen and sits on top of the water in the outside barrel

the fell water comes into the outside black container filled with sand and seeps  into the blue having been filtered by sand 

the outlet hole allows the floating orange sludge to flow out from the black container and into the ditch

happy pond skaters

disconnecting the inlet pipe allows any congealed sludge to escape before we clean the barrels

Rod and Ios scooping out the floating sludge

the sand will be left after the dirty water is removed

the inside barrel with water needs to be emptied too

the bottom pipe has a tap which is turned on to allow the water to escape into the ditch

almost clean from the scooping out

friendly visitor looks on

job finished and waiting for the barrels to refill
            inlet to the right and outlet to the left goes to a large old industrial orange juice barrel
( not shown )which holds the clean water
the finished product

Monday, 8 September 2014

Battery Farming

Sometimes our windmill is going round with a good old blast of fresh air but the batteries don't want to give anything out so a bit of detective work shows us we have a dodgy battery
the battery fluid indicates no charge as the red band is below the water level

the dodgy one in the middle of the battery bank store is the one with the battery cap open

topping up the rest of the batteries with de-ionised water and also checking them with gauge

the fluid showing in the top up hole gets checked by the indicator gauge

 the gauge   --when the gauge instrument floats in the hole it shows the acidity level of the battery
disconnecting the dodgy battery
and by-passing it with a good submarine one

the negative is connected to a positive and vice versa joining the good "new" one to where the dodgy one is missed out!!

Friday, 29 August 2014


Limestone Pavement

The walk up --we usually take the path from the Hawes-Ingleton Road

Ingleborough in the background

Clints and Grykes

Ribbleshead Viaduct further on towards Hawes