Source Roeburnscar Cottages

Source Roeburnscar Cottages

Source Roeburnscar Cottages

Roeburn Remembering Restoring Festival

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                                Let us know if you are coming
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Poster by Eller Everett
River Roeburn
Remembering and Restoring Festival
Sat 12th -Sun 13th August 2017
Backsbottom Farm, Roeburndale West,
Nr. Wray, Lancaster La2 9ll

This Free Festival will celebrate and remember 50 years since the Wray flood on 8th August 1967
and will help to engage the local community and general public about the issues around flooding and water management.


Events will include:
  • Historical exhibition of the River Roeburn and events of flooding, landslips and other river changes over the years including Wray Flood and Flood Desmond. In Rural Classroom in the farmyard.  The Wray flood exhibition will be open over the weekend.
  • Rivers Healing Circle to bring together waters from rivers in UK and abroad and their stories (Sunday midday)
  • Photographic competition of photos of rivers or streams in the Lune catchment (especially the Rivers Wenning, Hindburn and Roeburn). In Rural classroom in the farmyard
  • River paintings by Janet Robinson and Hilary Devereaux in Middle Wood Centre
  • Natural Land sculpture workshops. Resident environmental artists Richard Shilling and Julia Chick will be making natural art sculptures from materials gathered nearby in particular locations by the river throughout the festival weekend. Look out for the signs and join them to see what they have been making, learn how to make natural sculptures yourself and spend some quality time next to the enigmatic River Roeburn. All weekend.
  • Search for fossils amongst the river stones
  • Walks to see erosion sites, landslips and ongoing damage from the flash flooding of the River Roeburn. Follow map.
  • Display of Slow the Flow techniques - woody check dams, stone check dams, in river training with careful placement of boulders, wool and bale dams that could be used for reducing peat erosion, blanket bog restoration and the use of mob grazing to increase the infiltration of rain by improving the soil structure. Details from Car park with map follow the mown path.
  • Film showings from other Slow the flow projects. In Yurt near study Centre.
  • Neighbourhood flood plans
  • Large aerial photo of the Rivers Roeburn and Hindburn to help record memories and encourage community engagement. Near Study Centre.
  • River flow experimental area to play with different structures and see how they affect water flow
  • Display by Lune Rivers Trust and River Fly Monitoring (Sunday)
  • N'Dodo - A brillant dancable local band from 3pm Sat
  • Local musicians performing near the river and in the woodlands
  • Quercus, Sian Philips, Paul, Wal and Ruth and friends - Great acoustic music. Sat evening.
  • Two local choirs Lune Valley Voices Sat 7.30 and Wenning Voices Sun 2pm.
  • Dance performance with Dawn Morgan and friends
  • River inspired poetry workshop with Eli Denvir from 11am Sun 
  • Local poetry inspired by the river
  • Sharing of food brought by festival visitors. Picnic by river on Sunday.
  • Beautiful Roeburndale Woodlands and organic orchards
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Natural Land sculpture workshops. (Sat and Sun)
"Resident environmental artists Richard Shilling and Julia Chick will be making natural art sculptures from materials gathered nearby in particular locations by the river throughout the festival weekend. Look out for the signs and join them to see what they have been making, learn how to make natural sculptures yourself and send some quality time next to the enigmatic River Roeburn."


                               Richard Shilling Land Art
                                      All weekend
Lune Valley Voices                                               N'Dodo
Sat 7.45                                                               3pm Sat
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River Poetry Workshop with Ellie Denvir down by the river. (Sunday from 11am). Gathering words and sounds from our experiences with the river, we will explore relationships and feelings between ourselves, the land and the river, making a collective poem to follow the course of the Roeburn from the fells to the Wenning.  There will be the chance to create individual poems  and join with musicians to perform our work (Sun afternoon).

The invisible river flows through the endless night

Cold stone and loneliness
Deer bark in the woods
Sleeping birds are startled


I sit on a mossy rock and become the stars.
By Paul Michael Fergus Wiggin

Ode to the Roeburn

Your pleasant glades and babbling course helped shape my early life
Our courses set without regret seeing turbulence and strife


You calmly flow but most don’t know the gift that you have been
With twists and turns forgotten like the things that we have seen

Your harnessed strength brought riches once along your flowing course
But in just one day unfettered you showed your might and force

We all forgive what you once did as you raged without control
But will you forgive what we do now as we erode your very soul

I hoped one day I would return to see you again old friend
Your sustenance to life around I thought could never end

With grateful thanks for rewards bestowed to generations gone by
Let the children now protect you and never let you die.


Robert W Marshall
Childhood resident of Wray




Slow The Flow - Check Dams and In River Training
Demonstration area will be on display over the weekend
Follow signs and mowed path from car park.
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Have you been affected by flooding, or had wonderful experiences of a special river?

Come to our

RIVERS SHARING CIRCLE

13 August 12 noon Backsbottom Farm, Roeburndale West,
Nr Lancaster.

By River Roeburn
Shared Jacobs Join picnic Sun
followed by Wenning Voices 2pm Sun
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Poster by Leah Hampson

Photographic competition of photos of rivers or streams in the Lune catchment (especially the Rivers Wenning, Hindburn and Roeburn). Catch that place you love on the river, or that moment with a special light reflection.
Either bring your photos with a completed Entry form to the rural classroom in Backsbottom farmyard on Friday 11 August, or send by post to arrive by then.
Entry £1 per photo.
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Festival Site Map
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Poster by Eller Everett
Camping for Festival is limited to 20 tents so please complete booking form and get confirmation that there is space. Camping will be in field over the wall from the car park. Cost £10 per tent per night.
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OTHER LINKED EVENTS
Wray Flood

Memories & Impacts
On Tuesday 8th August 2017 it will be 50 years since the Wray flood, when 14 homes were either destroyed by a wall of water coming down the river, or so severely damaged they had to be demolished. On this date the village are holding a commemorative exhibition in Wray Institute, from 10am to 8pm. Photographs, newspaper reports, documents and recordings will be on view (many relating to Hornby and Claughton too), and Wray school children’s flood impressions will be shown as well. Please drop in and pay us a visit.This will also be open over the weekend for you to visit as part of the Festival.

Lune Valley Movement Space 
http://shapeshift.co.uk/workshops/lunevalley.html
Includes Water Dance 6-10 August
here to edit.

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Find the event here on Facebook to let us know your coming and share it with your friends.
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Mobile Chicken House

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This mobile chicken house means that the field doesn't get muddy and eroded and the grass still grows. The chickens are off the ground from predators in their hut, the wire can have left over food put on to it without attracting rodents and the whole thing can be moved by tractor so food remnants will fertilise the ground.There's also no need to go out at night to lock up the chickens as they have a predator proof ladder!
the frame







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Mulching the Garden

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We're lucky to have had Caroline and Charlie ,our fantastic French volunteers, to help in the garden. Here they are mulching the Keder polytunnel and greenhouse with compost made from rotted down bracken. Our vegetable polyculture beds are a mixture of the no dig and hugel methods. No dig is particularly beneficial for the soil as the earthworms do the digging when the mulch is put on top and there is little disturbance to micro-organisms.
Caroline filling wheelbarrow loads of compost

Charlie in the Keder greenhouse

pulling out old nasturtiums which will go back into the compost heaps

Caroline piling on the compost

handfuls of compost go on top of the greenhouse beds

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Slow the Flow – Check Dams on Fell

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As part of the upland restoration work being undertaken by Rod these check dams are shown being put into ditches which in time will slow the flow of rain water down towards the river. Recent flooding around the country have shown that our uplands are severely depleted in water retention capacities. A healthy river needs healthy uplands which absorb water and slowly feed the rivers instead of fast runoff resulting in floods which damage the environment, towns and villages. Here are some photos showing Rod, and our lovely French volunteers Charlie and Caroline working with the various components like sheep wool, river rocks and rushes
river rocks being placed across a ditch--Charlie, Rod and Caroline

steady there they're getting heavier so hurry with that photo


the finished "wall" across the ditch


thank you Charlie and Caroline you did a great job

hay bales across a ditch also help to slow the flow

next check dam is made of old spoiled sheep wool

putting wool on top of a ditch

then covered with slabs of rushes

completely covered over with rushes which will grow ont op and create a good dam

this swale from 2015 is now enjoying some avian visitors and other pondlife

the young trees are beginning to look established and will help to retain water

left over wool will be used again
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Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland

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The North West Raptor Group are making an appeal to combat the illegal killing of Peregrine Falcons in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland, situated in the North West of England. Classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it covers 808 square Kilometers of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire. The Forest of Bowland is internationally important for its upland bird populations and under the Habitats Directive "Bowland Fells" are designated a Special Protection Area for specific birds of prey. The Forest of Bowland may be an SPA, but raptors like Hen Harrier and Peregrine Falcon receive no protection. In 2009 - 25 Peregrine territories in the Forest of Bowland were examined by the NWRG. 17 sites were occupied, 6 nests failed following the loss of eggs, chicks and adult birds. A total of 11 territories produced 24 fledged young. In 2010 the Government’s Wildlife Adviser, Natural England, withdrew Peregrine licenses for use in the Forest of Bowland from members of the NWRG, following the group’s disclosure on social media of wide scale raptor persecution throughout this moorland region, where Red Grouse are shot. Other licenses issued to group members since 1974, covering additional raptor species including Peregrine for areas outside the Forest of Bowland remained unaffected. By 2016, 99% of Bowland Peregrine nesting territories were found abandoned. The loss of an entire regional population of Peregrines (18 pairs) from the Forest of Bowland is unprecedented. To protect these Peregrines, the NWRG need your help to purchase the following urgently needed kit: Go-Pro camera - 2 mountain bikes - radio transceivers & infra-red night vision goggles. Throughout the last 43 years members of the North West Raptor Group have self-funded their work. If the killing of Peregrines continues, they will be lost forever, not only from the Forest of Bowland but also from the rest of England's northern uplands, where Red Grouse are shot for sport. Read Latest Update

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Crowdfunding appeal for new raptor satellite tag project © R.P.U.K.

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The campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support a new project to fit satellite tags to raptors in northern England, set to begin later this year.
Satellite tagging has revolutionised efforts to detect raptor persecution crimes, and has also helped draw public attention to the illegal killing of raptors. The power of satellite-tagging was really first realised in 2009 when a young satellite-tagged golden eagle, ‘Alma’, was found dead on a grouse moor on the Millden Estate in the Angus Glens. She’d been poisoned. It’s highly unlikely her corpse would have been detected had she not been fitted with a satellite tag, which allowed investigators to pinpoint her body as she lay face down in a vast expanse of heather moorland. The resulting publicity about her death was phenomenal, and even though nobody was ever prosecuted, this crime turned the spotlight on to an industry that had escaped scrutiny for so long.
alma
Since Alma, there have been many other illegally-killed raptors, including golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, hen harriers, Montagu’s harriers and red kites whose satellite tags have given the game away. These days, the raptor killers are wise to the game and now it’s far more common for a sat-tagged bird to simply ‘disappear’, with all the evidence (carcass, sat tag) simply destroyed to avoid detection, although occasionally there won’t be a ‘clean kill’ and the wounded bird is able to move some distance before succumbing to its injuries and investigators are able to collect the corpse, conduct a post mortem and record it as a confirmed persecution crime.
Some within the grouse-shooting industry have recently been trying to discredit the use of raptor satellite tags, and it’s not hard to see why. They’ve slurred the professional reputations of highly experienced and licensed raptor researchers and have used some photographs of a young golden eagle with what appears to have a ‘slipped’ tag harness as evidence that the tagging experts don’t know what they’re doing. Now, of course, it’s possible for a sat tag harness to slip, and it does happen on occasion, but it’s a rare occurrence. What the accusers don’t mention is the circumstantial evidence that suggests tagged raptors are being caught inside crow cage traps, providing an opportunity for the trap operator to cut one of the harness straps before releasing the bird, with its tag now dangling and looking like it has been badly fitted. There is also evidence of at least one tagged hen harrier being trapped, its harness removed and transferred to a free-ranging corvid, presumably with the intention of disguising the fact the hen harrier was illegally killed.
Strangely, the grouse shooting industry has not tried to vilify the satellite tagging of non-raptor species, such as woodcock (GWCT project) or cuckoos (BTO project); it’s only the tagging of raptors they seem to object to. Can’t think why.
Here’s a photo (taken by Stephen Murphy) of Bowland Betty, a sat-tagged hen harrier found dead on a grouse moor on the Swinton Estate in Yorkshire in 2012. A post mortem revealed she had been shot.
bowland-betty-1
The new raptor satellite-tagging project in northern England is being undertaken by highly experienced and licensed experts in an independent research consortium (all voluntary – no salaries are being paid). The beauty of this independence is that sat tag data will be put in to the public domain very, very quickly. No more waiting for weeks/months/years to find out what happened, which will allow timely and targeted publicity every time one of these raptors ‘disappears’ or is found shot/trapped/poisoned. Greater public awareness of raptor persecution is key to bringing it to an end.
The crowdfunding target is to reach £10,000 by mid-March. It’s ambitious but it’s do-able. If you’d like to make a donation, however small or large, please visit BAWC’s crowdfunding page HERE
Thank you

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RSPB getting tough? © Mark Avery

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RSPB getting tough?

There are two recent RSPB blogs which are well worth a read – aren’t they all, always?
Martin Harper’s blog is pretty outspoken as these quotes will make clear (but please read it all):
  • it was a deeply frustrating debate – especially to the 123,000 that called for a ban and of course those seeking reform. Our initial reaction tried to pick out some positives, but that was a real challenge. Clearly there is widespread opposition from within the driven grouse shooting community to any real reform.
  • …if pressure for reform remains then the quality of the parliamentary debate will inevitably improve as people won’t be able to brazenly ignore the facts like some did on Monday.
  • When more crimes get into the public domain it will be harder for MPs to turn a blind eye.
  • …this week, we are raising awareness of the fate of the hen harrier Rowan, found dead in Cumbria in October, and which appears to have been shot. The fate of this bird graphically illustrates that illegal killing of hen harriers is ongoing, contrary to the impression given by some MPs in the Westminster Hall debate.
  • …we remain appalled by the environmental condition of the uplands and the ongoing illegal killing of birds of prey
Guy Shorrock says some interesting things on the Investigations blog too reflecting on 25 years at the RSPB and recent events:
  • Sitting at the debate, I already knew the nature of Rowan’s recent demise and wondered whether Thérèse Coffey, present as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was also aware. Against that, I listened with some disbelief at the nature of the debate that unfolded. To be frank, I wasn’t hopeful for a great deal to come out from the process. However, I thought at least this was an opportunity for some serious environmental concerns to be properly aired. Hopefully this would lead to a commitment from the government to at least look at options to tackle the pernicious problem of raptor persecution and a range of others environmental problems in our uplands.
  • At the end of the debate Therese Coffey read out a prepared statement that basically it would be business as usual. We know what has gone before is not working, so I simply don’t understand this response. With just three pairs of hen harriers breeding in England this year, just how bad do things have to get? I do wonder how history will look back on the quality of this debate and whether future society will judge us for failing to take meaningful action.
  • …despite raptor persecution becoming one of the government UK wildlife crime priorities in 2009, I have not seen any meaningful improvement in the levels of enforcement.
  • Compared with elsewhere in Europe and North America, game shooting in the UK is almost uniquely unregulated even though it is far more intensive in nature than almost anywhere else. To the best of my knowledge, no other industry in the UK has to rely on killing rare protected birds. Driven grouse moor management should be no different and simply has to adapt its business model to a more sustainable form of land management to conform to modern day conservation and the wishes of wider society.
  • Unless those in charge are held to account, I believe there is absolutely no chance of a significant change in some of the serious environmental problems associated with grouse moor management. Scotland has made some progress with the introduction of vicarious liability and this should be put in place across the rest of the UK as soon as possible.
  • As highlighted at Westminster Hall, it seems economics plays a very large part in this debate. However, the government do not appear to have done the sums to assess how the benefits from employment and income generation to local communities from grouse shooting compare with counteracting the cost of any environmental damage, loss of wildlife tourism opportunities or the huge sums of agricultural subsides paid into the uplands.
  • Whilst I will not be at the RSPB a quarter of a century from now, I would hope to still be here and to have witnessed a real change in the condition of our uplands and for the shame of raptor persecution to finally end. However, for these hopes to become a reality I believe this government needs to start taking take meaningful action now, and not just watch from the sidelines hoping it will all sort itself out.
I welcome these tougher statements and look forward to the RSPB taking a tougher stance on these issues. We’ll be chatting soon.

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Wildlife Detective Blog © Alan Stewart

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Evidence to Westminster and Scottish Parliament on driven grouse shooting – comment.

Woodpigeon bait and poisoned buzzard, still warm, found on Glenogil Estate, a driven grouse moor in Angus, in 2011.
Woodpigeon bait and poisoned buzzard, still warm, found on Glenogil Estate, a driven grouse moor in Angus, in 2011.
It’s been an interesting few days reading and listening to responses to Mark Avery’s proposed ban on driven grouse shooting and the proposal by Scottish Raptor Study Groups (SRSG) to licence game shooting. Many of the responses in favour of either of these proposals are compelling, though I have not yet seen an argument against that convinces me Mark or SRSG are on the wrong track.
I think the most knowledgeable and convincing argument to ban driven grouse shooting comes from Guy Shorrock. Guy is a senior investigations officer with RSPB and his evidence is based on many years of experience in the field.
Guy writes: ‘The National Crime Agency (NCA) define organised crime as ‘serious crime planned, coordinated and conducted by people working together on a continuing basis. Their motivation is often, but not always, financial gain. Organised criminals working together for a particular criminal activity or activities are called an organised crime group’.  The current levels of raptor persecution on driven grouse moor estates should be classed as organised crime.’  Logan Steele, the spokesperson for SRSG said to the Scottish committee when giving his evidence, driven grouse shooting is a ‘business underpinned by criminality’.
Both are absolutely correct. The killing, not just of birds of prey but of protected mammals such as badgers and otters, is most certainly in many cases organised crime. This criminality increases the profits of the estates through the elimination of factors that would have a negative impact on grouse. The extent is difficult to prove but I have no doubts that if anyone involved in the management of a driven grouse moor is eventually charged the police would also be considering an investigation using proceeds of crime legislation.
Guy also says: ‘I am aware of one individual who has been involved in grouse moor management for many years.  Based on a huge amount of information, I believe this individual is one of the very top wildlife criminals in the UK, and managing gamekeepers who are responsible for the death of literally thousands of raptors and other protected wildlife during the last two decades or more.  However, the reality is that this individual has never even been in a police station for an interview let alone anywhere near a court. It seems this individual, and much of the industry they are part of, consider, and with good reason, that they are pretty much untouchable.’
I can go one better: I am aware of two such individuals, no doubt one of them being the same person to which Guy alludes. Over the years I have also described them as the top wildlife criminals in the UK. In their operations in Scotland and the north of England their methods, both immoral and illegal, have probably been the principal factor in causing these two petitions to appear before the Westminster and the Scottish parliaments. I have heard their methods praised by many landowners, gamekeepers and shooting organisations for the past decade, but at the same time I have listened to several of their former employees who have given me the full and disgusting story, chapter and verse but, apart from one, were too frightened to stand up in court and be counted. In more recent years the tide has started to turn as the negative publicity of the criminality and the public anger were recognised by the more sensible folks involved in the grouse industry.
Had more intelligence been passed to the police that would have been a good start. Had much more support been given to the gamekeepers who had been (or were being) encouraged or directed to carry out criminal acts, they could have provided evidence (as opposed to intelligence) in the form of witness statements or recovery of illegal items and a case could have been submitted for prosecution. This could have been achievable by concerted action by the various shooting and land-owning organisations that have pretty much buried their collective heads in the sand for years, with no acknowledgement and half-hearted condemnation of what is taking place. I am sure that the extent of the criminality, if proved, would have meant a considerable jail sentence.
It is still not too late for this to happen. It would make my day!