• Hay-Day Walks


    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


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

    Join now


Intertwined with the change in farming, tourism and other land usage since the war, has been a change in the way that both tourists and locals interact with wildlife and the environment. Memories of those who spent their time in the hills tell us about the landscape and wildlife in past decades and how people's perceptions have changed.

These changes run alongside the rise in 'environmentalism' and the lobbying of this increasingly influential movement has seen changes in legislation to protect both wildlife and the habitats that they live in. For example, some hunting pursuits or activities such as 'bird nesting' -  the collecting of birds eggs - were once a common past times, but would now be illegal.

Listen in to the audio below to discover more.

Bird Nesting

With binoculars not readily available, and with the increasing interest in the natural world, Oology (egg collecting) became increasingly popular in Britain and the US during the 1800s. The collection of the eggs of wild birds by amateurs was considered a respectable scientific pursuit until the mid 20th Century; it was a popular hobby amongst both children and adults and in some cases big collections were built up and collectors traded eggs. Some bird eggs were also collected during and after the war to supplement incomes. The Wild Birds Protection Act 1954 in the UK made it illegal to collect eggs.

Hunting pursuits

Hunting has been practised in Cumbria and throughout Britain for hundreds of years and the High Fell contributors have memories of a range of hunting activities that were once common practise in Cumbria - from otter hound hunts, to hare coursing and hunting fox with hounds.
Nowadays shooting can form an important part of the rural economy and, if managed properly, can help maintain important habitats for wildlife. However hunting is controversial and hunting with dogs (including hunting for fox, deer, mink and hare coursing) was banned in England and Wales by the Hunting Act 2004.

Nature's Harvest

For most of human history we have been foragers, roaming the forests and fields to collect food for the table. With the advent of agriculture and hunting the need to find our food amongst the hedgerows declined; some of the wild foods which large numbers of the people used to collect - mushrooms, nuts, berries, flowers - have also dwindled as habitats have changed since the war. With the increased interest in environmental sustainability, concern over ‘food miles’ and desire for ‘local food’, 'wild foraging' as it has become known is again increasing in popularity.