Forgotten Lands ELMS Test
The Farmer Network Ltd - 2022
Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS)
In coordination with The Framer Network, CBDC worked with a group of farmers from 21 farms within the “Forgotten Lands” area of north-eastern Cumbria which is east of the A7 stretching north from Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish border. This is a sparsely populated very rural area with family farms, mostly of cattle and sheep, open fells, Roman and medieval remains and a deep cultural heritage. The area is part of the Forestry Investment Zone with areas of commercial forestry as well as smaller scale deciduous woodland. The project was funded by DEFRA and supported by Natural England.
The aim of this ELMS test was for farmers to understand how to identify and record the natural capital on their farms. It enabled farmers to be actively involved in mapping their natural capital which will give them a more thorough understanding and appreciation of what they have on their land. It will help the farmers in identifying the data/information required for their own Land Management Plan whilst helping them to cooperate with neighbours to provide habitat connectivity and contributing to an overall Plan for the area.
ELMS: Forgotten Lands Interactive Map
A number of training and workshops session were organized with framers to explain about methods and protocols for recording species. All the records were checked and mapped against the Cumbria existing species density layer. The farmers mapping records show that the ELMS project can help in enhancing species recording activity by providing accessibility for improving recoding on private land areas.
All habitat survey data were digitised and a total of 17 habitat maps were created (a map for each surveyed farm). These habitat data can help in filling gabs in Cumbria habitat basemap and also provide ground-truthing for habitat data collated from National sources (e.g. Natural England and Forestry Commission) and from old habitat surveys within the project area.
The following is a list of the mapped ‘Priority Habitats:
– Deciduous woodland
– Purple moor grass and rush pastures
– Lowland meadows
– Upland hay meadows
– Lowland fens
– Wood pasture and parkland
Other habitats were also mapped including:
– Coniferous woodland
– Unimproved grassland
– Mixed woodland
– Semi-improved grassland
– Improved grassland
– Wet Grassland
Contribution to the Cumbria LNR Strategy
According to DEFRA, Local Nature Recovery (LNR) is the more ambitious successor to Countryside Stewardship, paying for the right things in the right places and supporting local collaboration to make space for nature in the farmed landscape. This scheme will particularly contribute to our targets for trees, peatland restoration, habitat creation and restoration and natural flood management.
The following maps show, the Cumbria LNR habitat network for hay meadows and purple moor grass and rush pastures within the project area before and after adding the ELMS habitat survey data. Hopefully, these maps can give examples of importance of the ELMS projects in providing accessibility for surveying farm lands and identifying habitats for improving mapping of the LNR Habitat Networks.