Trip reports

Cobble Hey Visit

Adult and child birdwatching

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Cobble Hey meeting 15th May 2016

A small group of us met in the tea room at Cobble Hey at 11.00 am. A table was set for us with scones and a pot of tea. As we were a booked group this was included in the admission fee of £5 which usually only covers entrance to the gardens and other activities.
After we had enjoyed the food Edwina Miller, who runs the business along with her husband, gave us a talk about the farm. When they took over the farm from her husband's father in the 1990's it was simply a hill farm with sheep and cattle. They began developing the gardens and eventually opened these to the public in 2002.
There had always been moorland nesting birds on the land especially lapwings so they worked in conjunction with the RSPB to manage the land for the benefit of these birds. They entered into an environmental stewardship agreement and are now in the higher level along with an educational stewardship agreement under which they host school visits.
The birds are regularly monitored by an RSPB member, the latest bird count as of yesterday is 44 lapwing, 13 chicks,3 snipe, 4 oystercatchers, 6 redshank and he stated that it was the most chicks he had ever seen and that was in one field.
We were taken on a walk by Edwina's husband who gave us an insight into the land management needed to benefit the nesting birds. We viewed the lapwings and chicks from the hide and then we walked on through other fields where we nearly walked over a lapwing chick. We saw oystercatcher and curlew which would also be nesting.
We were able to wander round the gardens and the barns full of ewes, lambs, goats, kids, hens and rabbits. One ewe had just lambed and the lambs were trying to get on their legs. At certain times the orphan lambs are fed, helped by children and adults.
The farm has stunning views over the Forest of Bowland with walking trails over the land. There is even a tramper vehicle so the disabled can reach the hide.
All in all a varied, interesting and informative day was enjoyed by all.
Valerie