Cumbria’s Herdwick Sheep helping Lapwing, Curlew and Skylark

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Herdwick Sheep With No Fence Collar (ImageCredit: Ian Ryding)

A new and innovative conservation grazing method, using sheep fitted with ‘Nofence’ collars, is being trialled at RSPB Geltsdale in Cumbria. 

Just in time for the ground nesting birds breeding season, it is hoped that three of Britain’s native species will benefit from this new technology and that a flock of Herdwick Sheep will help to create the ideal nesting habitats for some of the UK’s most threatened and much-loved farmland birds at RSPB Geltsdale.  Lapwing, Curlew and Skylark are on the UK red list, which means they are at the highest level of conservation concern. 

These birds like a good view of what’s around them so that they can look out for predators such as foxes and crows and need to nest in open ground.  A key problem in large areas of the uplands is that rush pastures, unless regularly grazed, can grow dense and deter these species from nesting.

A flock of 22 Herdwick sheep have been grazing a 26-acre ‘Nofence’ enclosure since February, to help ensure the areas where the birds prefer to nest are now in perfect condition for them.  Since the sheep have now left the area, already Curlew, Lapwing and Skylark have been sighted nesting and the first Lapwing chicks are expected to hatch within the next couple of weeks.

‘Nofence’ is the world’s first virtual fence designed for controlling where animals graze and the system consists of an app and a collar where the two communicate with each other over the mobile network.  It means that animals can be kept within a designated area, using this virtual fencing technology. An electric non harmful pulse is triggered initially but the sheep soon learn to follow the audio warning preceding this.

RSPB Geltsdale is a large nature reserve in the North Pennines comprising two upland farms, Geltsdale and Tarnhouse, both over 2000 hectares in size and is an important site for demonstrating how upland habitat management can help reverse the declines of threatened wildlife to create a thriving and diverse upland ecosystem. 

The sheep have learned to listen to the audio sounds delivered by their collars which divert them to areas to graze and they will happily nibble any new rush growth and cover the area with dung, which in turn attracts the invertebrates, such as beetles, flies, and earthworms which the birds like to eat.

Curlews, Lapwing and Skylark are all rapidly declining in the UK, since 1995 Curlew and Lapwing have both declined by nearly 50% and Skylark by 14% due to a range of factors including habitat loss and climate change.

RSPB Geltsdale is now mid-trial and early signs are that this new sheep grazing method will deliver results. 

Ian Ryding, Warden, RSPB Geltsdale, said: “Curlews, Lapwing, Skylark, and other ground nesting birds urgently need our help. Already these birds are nesting, sitting on their eggs, so this is encouraging to see, and the first Lapwing chicks are expected in the next couple of weeks.”

Tenant Farmer Ian Bell With Herdwick Sheep Wearing No Fence Collars (Photo By Ian Ryding)

Ian Bell, who owns the sheep, has been tenant Farmer at Tarnhouse Farm, at RSPB Geltsdale since 2016.  He and his partner manage a total of 7,000 acres across the two farms, focusing on producing sustainable food in balance with nature, whilst running a viable business alongside protecting and enhancing the land for nature recovery, habitat creation and biodiversity.

Ian said: “I must admit I was sceptical at first as to how our sheep would respond. But this new ‘Nofence’ technology is a game-changer. We want to manage the land to create a mosaic of habitats rich with wildlife and show how nature friendly farming can enrich the landscape.

“Herdwicks are notorious escape artists and certain individuals have a complete disregard for field boundaries, however, we have managed to train the sheep to go exactly where we want them to.  The technology appears to be better than a stonewall!”

The ‘Nofence’ collars have been purchased via the North Pennines National Landscape’s Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

RSPB Geltsdale’s expert conservation team works with farmers, like Ian Bell, and land managers to benefit wildlife on their land and create opportunities for wildlife to flourish in the wider landscape.  Ian Bell was also a winner of the inaugural *Farmland Curlew Award in 2023 for his efforts to help protect this endangered species.  Through the Curlew LIFE project, launched in October 2020, The RSPB is also working with land managers and farmers across the UK, to help improve habitat and raise awareness of conservation issues facing this rare bird. 

If successful it is hoped this sheep grazing concept could also be used on limestone grassland which needs grazing at different times of year, to encourage wildflowers to flourish.

Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata, lone adult, RSPB Geltsdale Nature Reserve, Cumbria, April (Curlew By Andy Hay)

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Showcasing Wigton

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by Mayor of Wigton, Christopher Scott

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Cumbria, Wigton is a quaint market town with a rich history and a strong sense of community. Living in Wigton offers a unique blend of rural charm and modern amenities, making it an attractive place for individuals and families looking for a peaceful yet vibrant place to call home.

One of the defining features of Wigton is its historical significance. The town dates back to Roman times, with evidence of a Roman fort and settlement in the area. Over the centuries, Wigton has grown and evolved, becoming a thriving market town with a bustling high street and a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The town’s history is evident in its architecture, with many buildings dating back to the Victorian era, including the impressive St Mary’s Church, Highmoor Mansion and the Moore Memorial Fountain.

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

One of the things that sets Wigton apart is its strong sense of community. The town is home to a close-knit population who take pride in their local heritage and traditions. Residents often come together for various community events, from fairs and festivals to charity fundraisers and sports tournaments. This sense of camaraderie fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that makes newcomers feel right at home.

Wigton also boasts a wide range of amenities and services to cater to its residents’ needs. From local shops and markets to cafes and restaurants, there is no shortage of options for shopping and dining out. The town also has good schools, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities, ensuring that residents have everything they need right on their doorstep.

In terms of transportation, Wigton is well-connected to the rest of Cumbria and beyond. The town has good road and rail links, making it easy to travel to nearby city of Carlisle, the Solway Coast and the Lake District. For those who prefer to explore on foot or by bike, there are plenty of scenic walking and cycling routes to enjoy in the surrounding countryside.

As the Mayor of Wigton, I am truly honoured to serve the wonderful community in this role. Wigton is a vibrant town filled with history, culture, and a strong sense of community spirit. From the moment I took office, I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and support of the residents of Wigton. One of the greatest privileges of being Mayor is the opportunity to work closely with local organisations, businesses, and residents to help make Wigton an even better place to live, work, and play. From participating in community events and celebrations to meeting with local leaders to discuss important issues facing our town, every day brings new and exciting challenges. I am constantly amazed by the dedication and passion of the people of Wigton. Whether it’s volunteers who give their time to help those in need, local businesses that support community projects, or residents who take pride in their town and work hard to make it a better place, the sense of community in Wigton is truly inspiring.

One of the things I love most about being Mayor is the opportunity to be a voice for the people of Wigton. Whether it’s advocating for improvements to local services, supporting initiatives to promote economic development, or working to protect and preserve our town’s unique heritage, I am committed to representing the interests and concerns of all residents. I am humbled by the trust and confidence that the people of Wigton have placed in me, and I am dedicated to serving the town with honesty, integrity, and a genuine desire to make a positive difference. Being Mayor of Wigton is not just a title or a position – it is a responsibility and a privilege that I take very seriously.

Overall, living in Wigton offers a peaceful and idyllic lifestyle in a stunning natural setting. With its strong sense of community, range of amenities, and easy access to the great outdoors, it’s no wonder that residents of Wigton feel proud to call this charming town home.

Credit: Photographer Elliot Moore

Give the Mayor of Wigton, Christopher Scott’s Facebook page a follow (1) Facebook

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Become a Showcase Cumbria Contributor

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Opening up the Showcase Cumbria Contributor opportunities, let me know if you would like to write on a Place in Cumbria!

Places already done and taken: Kendal, Ulverston, Keswick, Cockermouth and Hawkshead so rest you can write on.

What does it entail? I will just need 250 words on the place in Cumbria and ideally 3 photos of the place (they need to be your own photos or permission of the owner – please let me know who the photos are by and so I will put that on the website saying Credit: ….).

Also please provide me a bio on you as the Showcase Cumbria contributor along with a photo you and links you want me to add on and anything you wish to promote.

You also get a Showcase Cumbria Contributor digital badge that you can use if you so wish afterwards.

Get in touch to shine the light on all areas of Cumbria – first come, first serve. I can add whichever place in Cumbria (so don’t just go off the list) so as long as not been done before and in Cumbria, you can write on it.

Just send me a DM or email

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The Great North Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) responded to 11 incidents over the weekend in Cumbria and North East

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The Great North Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) critical care teams in the North East and Cumbria responded to 11 incidents on Saturday 27 April and Sunday 28 April.

In the North East our team was activated to four incidents on their helicopter and one on their rapid response vehicle.

In Cumbria our team was activated to three incidents on their helicopter and three on their rapid response vehicle.

Here are statements for some of the incidents GNAAS’ team attended this weekend:

North East

North Pennines

On Saturday our critical care team was activated at 3.03pm to reports of a road traffic collision on B6277, Forest and Frith in County Durham.

We had a doctor and paramedic on board our aircraft and they arrived on scene at 3.15pm.

Our team worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service to assess and treat a patient, and the patient was airlifted to hospital.


On Saturday our critical care team was activated at 4.04pm to reports of a medical incident in Lanchester. We had a doctor and paramedic on board our aircraft and they arrived on scene at 4.16pm. Our team worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to assess and treat a patient. The patient was taken to hospital by a NEAS road crew, accompanied by our team.

Holy Island

On Sunday our critical care team was activated at 5.43pm to reports of a fall in Holy Island. They arrived on scene at 6.21pm and worked alongside the North East Ambulance Service to assess and treat a patient before airlifting the patient to hospital.



On Saturday our critical care team was activated at 9.34am to reports of a road traffic collision in Longtown.

We had a doctor and paramedic on board our aircraft and they arrived on scene at 9.46am.

After treatment on scene, our team returned back to their base at 10.16am.

GNAAS needs to raise £8.5m a year to remain operational. To find out more about how you can support the charity visit:


· The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is a charitably funded air ambulance service which provides life-saving care throughout the North East, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Isle of Man.

· They operate two helicopters 365 days a year and also operate a night-time service in the North East and Cumbria on rapid response vehicles.

· The aircraft cover an area of more than 8,000 square miles and on board are specialist doctors and paramedics who effectively bring the hospital to the patient.

· The level of skill and expertise of the on-board team mean they respond to the most critically ill and injured people, giving them the best chance of survival.

· GNAAS is a progressive organisation which has pioneered pre-hospital care in the region.

· The latest techniques, equipment and drugs are constantly being evaluated to ensure the charity can provide the best care possible for their patients.

· 2022 marked the service providing 20 years of life-saving care. Throughout this time, they have responded to more than 23,500 incidents across the region, with road traffic collisions being the most frequent type of incident responded to by the team.

· They do not receive Government funding and must therefore raise £8.5m a year through public donations to remain operational. For more information visit: or follow @gnairambulance on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok

Great North Air Ambulance responding in Longtown, Cumbria
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Things to do in Cumbria

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Discover the Spirit of Cumbria: Shed One Distillery’s Award-Winning Experiences

Uncover the Charm of Artisanal Spirits at Shed One Distillery From Garden Beginnings to a Destination of Delight! Enjoy Botanical Afternoon G&Teas,  Personalised Distillery Tours, and Craft Your Own Signature Gin. Celebrate Special Moments with Cocktails & Cakes, Engage in Artisan Workshops, and Build Team Spirit with Corporate Events. Say ‘I Do’ at Our Licensed Wedding Venue and Toast to Our Sustainability and Excellence Awards.

Visit Shed One – Where Every Sip Tells a Story.

Andy & Zoe launched Shed One Distillery in 2016, from their 7×7 foot garden shed. We moved to The Old Calf Shed in 2019 and opened to the public with a shop, bar and visitor experiences.

Shed One is open to the public on specific days and times; however, if the shutters are up, ring the bell for the shop and bar. Experiences need to be booked. 

Shed One Distillery
The Old Calf Shed
North Lonsdale Road
Cumbria LA12 9AU

Botanical-inspired Afternoon G&Tea with Distillery Tour.

Featured in The Sunday Times: “The Seven Best Affordable Afternoon Teas”.

Distillery Tours & Tastings. 

Make Your Own Spirit. You can choose to create your signature botanical spirit, or gin. 
All experiences are hosted by us, the distillers and owners. 

Look out for our other special events including “Cocktails & Cakes” and local artisan-led workshops.

Corporate team-building

Licensed wedding venue.

Winner of Visit England’s Excellence Awards, Silver
Winner of The Gin Guide’s Environmental Sustainability for 4 years running.

Contact them now to book as well as follow them on social media:

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🏇 Elevate Your Brand at Cartmel Racecourse! 🏇

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Step into the winner’s circle with Cartmel Racecourse’s exclusive promotional opportunities! As the racing season gallops ahead, they are offering a range of packages to showcase your brand, entertain clients, or simply savour a day at the races.

🔹 Hoarding Banners: Only a few spots left for the season! Be quick as once they are gone, they are gone. For just £500 + VAT, gain visibility in front of up to 100,000 guests and potential TV coverage. Plus, receive complimentary extras that you don’t want to miss out on!

🔹 Car Park Promotion: Make a statement in the only car park in Cartmel.

🔹 Paddock Marquee: From £59.00pp, enjoy the races in style and comfort.

🔹 Party Tents: Enjoy the races with clients or family in one of their Party Tents

🔹 Parade Ring Restaurant: Dine with a view.

🔹 Louis Roederer Restaurant: Indulge in luxury dining.

Don’t miss this opportunity to align your brand with the excitement of Cartmel Racecourse. Let’s make this racing season a winner for your business!

To book any of the above or for more information, please contact me, Mary Ballard via as I am an acting agent for Cartmel Racecourse and selling them on their behalf.

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Local HR consultancy firm receives dual nominations at this year’s Enterprise Vision Awards

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(Photo of Meraki HR Solutions Founder and Managing Director, Emma Browning)

Meraki HR Solutions, a forward-thinking provider of innovative human resources solutions, is proud to announce it’s double nomination at the prestigious Enterprise Vision Awards. The company and its founder, Emma Browning, have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the business landscape and the professional services sector, respectively. Meraki HR Solutions has been nominated for the highly coveted Best Business Award, while Emma Browning has been nominated for the esteemed Professional Services Award.

The Best Business Award, open to businesses regardless of establishment timeline, celebrates companies that embody excellence in all facets of their operations. Meraki HR Solutions’ nomination underscores its commitment to innovation, growth, and delivering unparalleled HR solutions across various industry sectors.

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the creation of Meraki HR Solutions, MD Emma Browning expressed, “Our journey began with a vision to make every business we work with, a great place to work, which is particularly important with the skills shortages we are now seeing. We recognised the need for a more holistic approach to HR, one that combines technology and our extensive experience with a personalised service and support to drive meaningful results for each of our clients.”

Meraki HR Solutions has achieved significant milestones in its 10 years of business, earning the trust of clients and industry recognition along the way. From navigating dynamic market trends to fostering a culture of innovation, the company has consistently demonstrated resilience and adaptability in an ever-evolving business environment.

Similarly, Emma Browning’s nomination for the Professional Services Award celebrates her exceptional contributions to the professional services sector. From her transition from a sales and operations role into the field of human resources to her relentless pursuit of excellence, Emma has distinguished herself as a visionary HR leader dedicated to driving positive change for the clients Meraki HR work with

“I wanted to move into HR as I genuinely believe that it’s people that make or break a business – you don’t have a great business without great people. So, you need to find great people and make sure you hold onto them, which isn’t easy!” My passion for giving managers and leaders the skills to manage and motivate their teams to ensure they nurture and retain great talent, has been the driving force behind my career journey,” Emma shared.

Throughout her career, Emma has achieved remarkable milestones, earning the respect and admiration of peers, employees, and clients alike. Working for global brands such as Porsche Cars, Harley Davidson and Adecco, as well as many SME’s. Her future plans are centred around expanding the business whilst continuing to deliver unparalleled HR solutions and service for their clients.

The Enterprise Vision Awards judging panel will evaluate nominees based on various criteria, including the inspiration behind business creation, achievements and challenges to date, future plans and development, and the drive and passion behind the business. Meraki HR Solutions and Emma Browning are particularly honoured to be recognised for their contributions to their respective sectors as they have been nominated for these awards by their clients and look forward to the opportunity to showcase their business and client achievements on a national stage.

For more information about Meraki HR Solutions and Emma Browning’s contributions to the field of human resources and professional services, please visit

About Meraki HR Solutions:

Meraki HR Solutions is a leading provider of professional, commercial, and practical human resources solutions, dedicated to empowering organisations and individuals to thrive. With a focus on leveraging their experience and creativity in finding unique solutions for each of their clients, Meraki HR Solutions offers a comprehensive suite of HR, Training and Coaching services designed to ensure their clients are first and foremost legally compliant, but that they also create a great place to work with a focus on recruiting and retaining great people, with the aim of driving organisational success.

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