THE weather continues to cause havoc.

The weekend’s deluge was well predicted, with forecasters getting it spot on. This does allow farmers the chance to shift livestock and, to an extent, prepare. However, the trail of destruction and devastation to properties, land, access and boundaries in the aftermath results in a lot of heartache, disruption and toil, to say the least.

The Lunesdale Natural Flood Management (NFM) farmer group has continued to meet regularly over the winter months. In November, a group of farmers got together in Sedbergh to discuss land drainage with drainage consultant Gavin Elrick. Drainage and NFM practices can work together to improve the water holding capacity of the soil and improve land productivity, and it was a good chance to discuss the benefits and costs of this sort of groundwork.

At our second free event in Dent, Sue Thurley, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), led a very interesting workshop on woodlands and the funding available for both woodland creation and managing existing woodlands. There are currently ambitious targets for planting woodland for a variety of reasons, including carbon storage and NFM. Woodland grants are very attractive and it is well worth looking at the current funding available and dropping a line to one of the national park authority’s trees and woodland officers.

In January, the YDNPA, in partnership with the Lancashire and Westmorland Hedge Laying Association, hosted the annual hedge laying competition at a farm in Howgill. It was great to see competitors and spectators enjoying the day and continuing this traditional skill. Hedgerows are an intrinsic part of the landscape in the western Dales, providing an enduring stock proof barrier and an important habitat for wildlife.

Last week, the YDNPA Farm Team hosted a farm grant update meeting in Sedbergh. This annual event always attracts a good crowd and more than 50 farmers gathered to hear about current funding streams. The team is able to offer advice and assistance to farmers in the national park who are interested in applying for Countryside Stewardship. Please contact or 01756 751620 for more.