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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Farm haven for wild birds
Black Grouse
The farm will be home to species such as Black Grouse
The RSPB has set up a haven for rare birds with the purchase of a working farm in Cumbria.

Tarn House Farm will be a home for species such as Black Grouse, Golden Plover and Hen Harriers - and has cost the charity 750,000.

The society bought 3,500 acres of land near Brampton, on the border between Northumberland and Cumbria, and is part of the RSPB's Geltsdale nature reserve.

The farm will be run as a traditional upland sheep-farm with benefits to the special wildlife of the area.


it will take many years of work and continued investment to achieve our ultimate vision

Dave Bennett, RSPB

The land bought by the RSPB has an impressive range of wildlife habitats - including heather moorland, blanket bog, upland grassland and a lake.

The purchase gives the RSPB freehold ownership of the land.

RSPB reserves manager, Dave Barrett, said the farm would be an outstanding area for moorland birds and provide a haven for rare and specialised upland birds.

"We are thrilled to have acquired this very special part of the North Pennines, which gives us the opportunity to actively manage this area to enhance its potential for wildlife.

"In a few years time, the area around Tarn House Farm will be an oasis for wildlife, as a range of important habitats for wildlife are restored here.

RSPB's Geltsdale nature reserve
The farm is part of the RSPB's Geltsdale site

"Although already part of our Geltsdale nature reserve, until now we have not owned the freehold of the land and so our hands have been tied over doing any significant wildlife habitat improvement work.

"We can begin to make a real difference to the wildlife value of this superb site, although it will take many years of work and continued investment to achieve our ultimate vision."

Planned conservation initiatives for the farm include reducing the amount of grazing on the heather moorland, restoring the blanket bog by blocking drainage ditches, re-instating cattle grazing and planting native trees to encourage black grouse and other woodland pasture wildlife.

The RSPB says that maintaining Tarn House as a working farm shows that wildlife-friendly farming techniques are vital to wildlife conservation.

Public access

Mr Barrett added: "The North Pennines are already outstanding for their wildlife importance and Tarn House Farm will become another wildlife gem in this unique and stunning landscape."

The RSPB's purchase of the land was made possible with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (263,000), The Countryside Agency (221,000) and English Nature (9,000).

Tony Jones, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for the North West, said: "This is a unique chance to secure and improve the land, with all its beauty and habitat value.

"Over time, public access will be enhanced, with the upgrading of paths and introduction of interpretation panels."

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Dave Barrett of the RSPB
"Geltsdale is a fantastic place for wildlife"

Click here to go to BBC Cumbria
See also:

25 Jun 02 | England
17 Jun 02 | England
24 Jan 02 | England
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