Working together can reap rewards for businesses

Farmers and organisations are reaping the benefits of working together.

More than 40 delegates from a wide variety of organisations involved in land management, met in the Cheviot Hills to discuss the partnership working.

The event was organised by Jennifer Hewitson, of Northumberland National Park Authority, and Tracy Hall, of Tweed Forum, who are both part of the Cheviot Futures initiative.

The aim was to showcase practical conservation measures that have been undertaken by farms and businesses in the Cheviot foothills and valley floodplains, following the devastating floods of 2008 and 2009, with the overall aim of increasing resilience to the effects of climate change.

The day started with a visit to the Fenton Centre near Wooler where the farmer, Simon Henderson, explained how he is changing his farming system to cater for more extreme weather events such as high rainfall and droughts.

Simon is taking approaches which include reducing his ploughing.

In the Bowmont Valley, several natural flood management techniques were shown to the group.

On display were areas of newly-planted floodplain woodland, areas of cleugh woodland and wooden ‘debris’ barriers placed in the river to reduce sediment getting in and reduce sediment movement downstream.

In the Breamish Valley, a partnership approach involving land owners, tenant farmers and Northumberland Fire and Rescue, highlighted the need for water storage ponds in the valley which can be used as a source of water should planned grass or heather fires get out of control.

On the dayTracy Hall, from Cheviot Futures, said: “This has been a great event with lots of positive discussion on sustainable land management. It is good to see such enthusiasm among the group for what has been achieved.

“There will be significant land management challenges ahead but if we all work together in partnership, then real progress can be made.”