Case Study

Blawith and Torver Low Commons, management plan process

Contact name

Tim Duckmanton

Institution name

Lake District National Park Authority

Region & country

Cumbria, North West England, United Kingdom

Summary

Blawith and Torver Low Commons form part of the wider Subberthwaite, Blawith and Torver Low Commons SAC. We are working with the Commoners on our areas of Common, and the adjoining landowner to review the current management and develop a future management plan for the Common.

Background of the project

The site is categorised as mostly Unfavourable – No Change or Unfavourable – Declining. One management unit was scored as Unfavourable – recovering. This is related to agricultural overgrazing, inappropriate stock feeding and drainage of mire/peatland habitat.

The Common was in a 5 year Upland Entry Level Scheme which expired on 30 April 2019. Natural England would like to see the Common in a 10 year Higher Level Stewardship to support the improvement of the site with a new management plan.

Solution and actions taken

Our vision for the common, and primary objective is that the SAC features (wetland habitats and associated species including Natterjack Toad) will be in Unfavourable Recovering or Favourable condition.

We will be co-creating a new plan with the commoners, using natural solutions compatible with farming.

Other institutions or parties involved

Natural England, other landowner of the Common, Blawith and Torver Low Commoners Association, relevant commoners and graziers, Forestry England, adjacent landowners, Parish Councils and user groups.

Results

We have raised the potential of the new management plan’s profile and have agreed a new approach with the commoners to begin crafting a new plan.

Challenges

Our first engagement session was not successful. For success we require a better communication strategy, resources, staff and time to effectively engage and communicate with stakeholders.

Lessons learned

Early engagement is critical, ideas must be presented neutrally and respectfully to local land management stakeholders.

Contact name

Tim Duckmanton

Institution name

Lake District National Park Authority

Website(s)

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