A good day at the sales and hopes for a new fence at the farm on the M62.

Jill ThorpJill Thorp
Jill Thorp
As Paul headed off to the Whitefaced Woodland breed sale, John-William and I were left to enjoy a blissfully quiet Sunday.

It’s rare we ever get chance to stop and relax, we’re always flying here, there and everywhere.

We watched the trailer rattle out of the yard and then both of us sunk down into the sofa and discussed our plans. Neither of us could come up with anything particularly exciting, so after building a giant train track, we headed outside.

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We walked down across the fields, below the noise and disturbance of the motorway. Great flocks of lapwings darted back and forth in the sky, the morning sunshine glinting on their flickering wings, before they all landed back down in amongst the bulrushes.

Known collectively as a deceit of lapwings, they will soon disappear, perhaps to the Somerset levels or Morecambe Bay, a favoured spot for our curlews and oystercatchers. They will winter there before heading back to us in the spring, a sight that guarantees to raise our spirits.

The breed sale went well, all our entries found new homes. Considering numbers were slightly down, trade was good. The staff at the market ensured guidelines were followed and apart from the slightly awkward mask wearing, which according to Paul, everybody managed, it was a good day for buyers and sellers.

Masks aren’t ideal for people like my husband who wear glasses. Despite trying to tape the mask across the top of his nose and wedging his glasses on top of the mask, he constantly steams up. Perhaps a full face visor will be in order for his next trip!

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We were contacted recently by a chap who was carrying out a survey for Highways England and needed access to our farm. It was for an ecological survey as they were trying to put measures in place to prevent ‘wildlife deaths’ on the motorway, specifically badgers. The irony of this survey has not been lost on us!

I have lost count of the number of phone calls we’ve made to Highways about the state of their fence. The fence that they put there to prevent our sheep getting onto the carriageways.

Apart from the repairs we’ve carried out, it hasn’t, up until last year, had any attention since it was erected almost fifty years ago. Some sections were replaced last year, but the fence is in dire need of attention.

Apparently, wildlife on the motorway is of far greater concern than sheep on the motorway, although in my humble opinion, either is likely to have a disastrous outcome.

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However, we shall welcome the survey with open arms, as it could mean we finally get a safe, stockproof fence, that keeps all animals off the carriageways. Perhaps a giant soundproof wall that blocks every HCV from sight or as part of their pledge to plant more trees, we could have a native hedgerow plus new fence. Whatever they come up with, let’s hope it’s an improvement on what’s currently there.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson

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