Rooted in Cumbria

The Federation of Cumbria Commoners is a member-led organisation dedicated to promoting commoning in Cumbria. Our overall aim is to maintain and improve the viability of hill farming on common land.

We want this website to:

  • Inform you about new issues in commoning
  • Let you know what we are doing
  • Make our voice heard all over the world and much more

Lake District sheep farming adapting to change - a new report

Mervyn Edwards has written a thoughtful and interesting reflection on his many happy years of working as a ‘Ministry’ (of Agriculture) adviser with sheep farmers in the Lake District. His report gives the reader a brief history of sheep farming, commons and the way of life of the fell farmer. It documents the policy changes (not always positive) he has encountered over his working years and disasters like Foot and Mouth Disease.

Ministerial response to our request to extent HLS

It looks like Defra may be minded to extend expiring HLS agreements on commons. We received the folowing response to our request.


Dear Ms Lewis

Thank you for your email of 23 March to George Eustice about Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements in the Lake District National Park which are due to expire over the next three years. I apologise for the delay in responding.

Federation's response to Gove's Health and Hamony Command paper

Today we responded to the Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit  consultation.

The key issues we wanted to get across are:

Federation requests an extension to UELS/HLS agreements on hill farms and common land

Last month we wrote to George Eustice MP, Minister for Agriculture requesting that Defra seeks a mechanism to extend our HLS agreements until new post EU exit (commons-proofed) schemes are available. We sent a copy of the letter to Cumbrian MPs, four of whom got back saying they support the idea and would be writing to George Eustice.

We hear on the grapevine that “replication” (apparently that is their term for an extension) is creating waves in Defra but we have not received a formal response yet.

This is what we said in our letter:

Dear Mr. Eustice

Proposal of dedicated support for snow-hit farmers

Rory Stewart MP has been in touch with Farming Minister George Eustice to request the urgent release of Defra funding to subsidise the cost of fallen stock disposal, as the devastating impact of Storm Emma on some farms becomes clear. Defra last relaxed the rules on stock disposal in 2013 due to extreme weather and snowfall; with conditions this week described as “the worst in living memory”, the case for Defra support is clear.

Update on BPS payments on common land

BPS 2017 payments update on common land

Around 8% of the 3834 common land claimants have not yet been paid yet. (This excludes the New Forest commoners who have particular problems with BPS payments). RPA say these claims are held up for non-commons issues and they have to be cleared first before the payment for the common is made.

The most frequent queries from claimants are:

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