It was great to have students from the SRUC Countryside Management course visit Corehead Farm on what turned out to be a snowy yet sunny January day.
The main theme of the day was heritage and interpretation and as we walked from the barn, through the wild bird cover crop, up past the young orchard and into Tweedhope valley we discussed a variety of themes. Topics ranged from what makes an informative interpretation panel, to the decisions behind the tree planting in Tweedhope and the future development of a low level circular walk into the Beef Tub.
Most interesting to me perhaps were our conversations about people's perceptions of what the landscape 'should' look like and how that in turn, along with a variety of other factors, shapes our management decisions. At Corehead Farm our aim is to balance habitat restoration with continuation of hill farming and community activities, so whilst we keep the iconic Beef Tub grazed, in the eastern part of the farm we are restoring the Ettrick forest which once cloaked the land. As we peered into the wooded gorge at remnants of old woodland this is a little easier to imagine!
We also discussed 'shifting baseline syndrome' which describes peoples acceptance of the landscape and nature they grow up in as the norm. A phenomenon that can lead to continued loss of biodiversity over generations, as people literally forget that the meadows were once full of flowers and the rivers full of fish.
So much food for thought!
Thanks very much to lecturer Ian Lewis and students for such lively discussions.
Community and Education Officer