Meeting resilient rural communities

David Beeby – 15th September 2019

Today we walked out of the Langdale valley, over Stake pass and down in to Borrowdale. Our first serious ascent. What it really brought home is the challenge of connectivity in our county. A walk of a relatively few miles and yet the valleys could be in different countries.

This is why local communities are so important. The geography can also be an advantage as it must have contributed to areas like Rosthwaite not getting foot and mouth back in 2001.

Descending in to Rosthwaite we met the fabulous Malcolm Stonestreet at the Borrowdale Institute, established for the benefit of the Borrowdale valley community some 100 years ago. The building badly needs an upgrade and he, and his fellow trustees, having consulted widely with the community to decide what is needed, have now set out on an ambitious plan to achieve a serious redevelopment (c. £250k) that would be sustainable. They are working hard to raise the money and the Community Foundation has also contributed. All help welcome!!

We also caught the tail end of The Borrowdale Shepherd’s Meet. A fantastic display of Herdwick sheep proudly presented by the 13 farmers in the valley. We had a very interesting conversation with the Chair of the meet. So many concerns – rewilding (national parks were created for the benefit of the public, why turn them in to inaccessible scrubland?); Brexit (what does it mean for farming?); the longer term future of farming; challenges for young people in the valleys.

Lots to ponder.

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