By Andrea Meanwell, Farming officer, The Lake District National Park Authority:

AS I write we are tidying up on our farm after Storm Ciara.

There was 130mm of rain locally and the River Lune was roaring down the valley this weekend. Our hen house was picked up by the wind and thrown straight through a dry stone wall, knocking the wall over and smashing the hen house to bits. Thankfully the hens are ok.

I also saw a whirlwind picking up water from the river and swirling along the valley. It was certainly a challenging weekend to be working outdoors.

I am about to start working on the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) that will replace our current farming schemes now that we are in the process of leaving the European Union. I will be working on an ELMS test in the Upper Derwent catchment until October.

The Lake District National Park Authority is also helping to run another test and trial in the Waver Wampool catchment in the north of the county near the Solway.

As part of the work, I will be working with farmers and land managers to identify what they consider to be the public goods in their area and on their farms, and producing an area plan and farm plans mapping these. I will be looking at the wide range of assets that Cumbria has and will try to record these.

These assets are as various as nature-friendly ways of farming (including flood management), rights of way for public access, ancient woodlands, native breeds of livestock, wildlife, soils (including peat), our cultural heritage and the historic environment. It is an important and very interesting project, and could have a positive impact on the future land management schemes in the UK.

I am also looking forward to speaking about farm diversification at an event at the Lakeland Farm Visitor Centre, Ings, on February 27. The event is free to attend.

People can book online at

65 per cent of UK farms are already diversified in some way, where new business activities are added to traditional farming businesses in order to future-proof livelihoods and businesses.

It will be an opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers and source information and advice about funding, grants, products, services and marketing new businesses. Farmers will share their knowledge, stories and advice, including Kerrie and Isaac Benson, who recently opened the visitor centre. I’m sure that there will be an opportunity to sample the café menu as well.