Upland Limestone

John and Teddy Dawson
Farmers, Clapham

Conservation schemes:
We’re in a conservation scheme in the National Park on some of our land and they help us to maintain the dry stone walls. Which works well, we’ve used that for 3 years. It’s a five year scheme and we’re hoping to extend it. Really they help us maintain the walls by paying us 4p a running metre for the walls that we have to maintain which is well over ten miles of walls for the particular bit of land that’s in the scheme. We’re also in another scheme with the Ministry of Agriculture which helps us plant new hedgerows and restore walls which aren’t in the National Park scheme, which is in its second year and although its difficult to keep up with the paperwork, information they require, it does seem to work fairly well - so far!
Are the majority of the farms in the area working under some sort of scheme or other?
We don’t know. We suspect so, but we don’t tell each other information like that. We guard things like that like our bank balances!

Damage caused by off-road vehicles:
If we get more four wheel drive vehicles, land rovers and mountain bikes - things like that - once they get a hard track across the fell on the four wheel drive motor bikes or other trial bikes, then they’re not going to be satisfied going on a hard track, they’re going to want to go somewhere a bit more exciting, which is further up the fell, in among the rocks and ultimately somebody has to be responsible for that.

Expansion and diversification:
To expand the farm would mean borrowing money. It’s a difficult climate to do that because we can borrow it; it’s paying it back… Our profits last year were £13,000 as compared with £52,000 three years ago so it’s not an option really, expanding. We’ve diversified a little bit, in various places. We have a building that we open to the public and we had 700 or 800 people through over the Bank Holiday weekend, which was interesting. We tried it last year and it worked OK, so we thought we’d try it this year and it worked OK. Whether that would work on any scale, I don’t know. We’re a little bit limited diversifying into tourism in other ways because we’re in the National Park.

New demands on land:
This cycleway is coming along these byroads. It’s starting in Derby and its going to finish in Berwick-upon-Tweed. It’s coming along a particular Green Lane and the Parish Council are against this. They went along to the planning meeting to suggest they find an alternative route to this grassy lane. During the first year there’s going to be 2,000 cycles, in the second year 4,000 cycles after five years there could be 7,000 cycles using this Green Lane. There’s a Pennine Bridleway wanting to come through some of our land which used to be a bridleway but it’s been done away with over the years. They want to come along this particular road here which already takes a lot of traffic and there’s going to be hundreds of horses wanting to use this Pennine Bridleway. And there’s things like that coming in. You know, tourism.