• Hay-Day Walks

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    Discover more about Cumbria's upland hay meadows and the work being done to restore them on the Hay-Day walks.

    Hay-Day Walks

  • Protecting Wildlife For The Future

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    Help Cumbria Wildlife Trust conserve the wildlife and wild places of Cumbria for the future.

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Donald Pattinson

Donald Pattinson

Donald Pattinson was born in Braithwaite in 1942. The family took on the tenancy of Little Braithwaite Farm and Donald has lived and farmed here his whole life. Braithwaite used to support 13 farms, although today only 2 remain.

He has seen the attitudes to land and ownership change dramatically during his life-time and recalls that where he used to play as a child is now off-limits to his grandson.

As a farmer he has witnessed many changes in land-use and remembers how the introduction of mechanization into farming practise made certain tasks very much more efficient. He talks about the loss of the local railway and the shift to road-haulage.

He notes the falling numbers of sheep on the fells, and the tendency of sheep today to range far from their heft. He talks about the changes in management of the heather on the hills now that burning doesn’t take place and how English Nature is trying to remedy this.

“I would think a lot of the hedgerow birds are depleted from what they used to be because of these mechanical hedge trimmers. It shatters it all and the nests fall out and things like that and a lot of the foods destroyed - the hawthorn berries, rosehips. We, as kids, used to collect rosehips and take them to school and we used get a three pence a pound or something like and that was another source of pocket money as well.”