For the past 4 years, we have worked on Lampert Farm conducting student research projects. Lampert farm is 1,034 hectares, over 2,500 acres, situated to the south-west of Northumberland National Park. The farm is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated partly because of the mire habitat and its invertebrates, including the Cloud-Living Spider (Semljicola caliginosus).
It is also part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) called “Border Mires, Kielder – Butterburn” for the bogs, heath habitat and the petrifying springs with tufa formation. Special species that can be seen include breeding waders; such as curlew and golden plover, large heath butterfly and mountain bumblebees. There are lots of peat and peat habitats over the farm, storing large amounts of carbon in the soil.
The land has probably been farmed since medieval times. There are five ‘scheduled ancient monument’ shielings on the farm. Shielings are small huts that would have been occupied by herdsmen who tended animals grazing upland summer pasture.
In more recent times, the farm was bought by the current landowner’s grandfather in 1885 and the Farm Manager has been on this land since 1990. His son’s grandfather started work at the farm in 1920, 100 years ago. On the farm today are about 575 blackface sheep and 40 luing cattle. Luing (pronounced ‘ling’ cattle) is a hardy breed with a reddish coat. The cattle are able to wander over most of the farm, although they are brought into a barn for winter. The sheep are hefted into eight areas. ‘Hefting’ this means there are no fences, but the ewes stay in a local area by instinct, which they learn from their mother.