2 August 2017

Longshaw

This is Longshaw Lodge just outside Sheffield. It was built by the Duke of Rutland in 1827 as a hunting lodge and it sits in the middle of what was once a country estate of over 11,000 acres.Actually, let me rewind a little to correct myself. The Duke of Rutland only financed the building. He didn't raise a trowel or heave a single stone block into position. He was just the sponsor.

He wanted the lodge as a northern retreat for himself his family and privileged guests. They shot grouse and rabbits in the hunting season and no doubt enjoyed themselves immensely though it certainly would not have been my idea of a good time.

The Dukes of Rutland lorded it over this estate for a hundred years but with the changes wrought by modern times, the estate's ownership was transferred to The National Trust in 1937. Nowadays, it is a place for day visitors, ramblers and other outdoor enthusiasts though some of the land is still farmed by tenants.

On Monday afternoon I was a hundred yards south of Longshaw Lodge when I took this picture looking towards Higger Tor and Carl Wark:-
On my way down to the woods above Padley Gorge I spotted this cow with two obedient calves near Yarncliff Quarry.  It's nice to see cattle grazing happily, enjoying the freedom to wander but behind me I noticed a stocky bull, lumbering around his domain like an Olympic weightlifter. You can't argue with a bull but fortunately he was ignoring me. I asked if I could take his photo but he declined and swung his tail like a pendulum.
Right before I descended into Yarncliff Wood, I spotted this old stone sheep barn beyond the field gate, It's a building I have investigated and photographed before but it looked so nice in a burst of sunshine with heavy clouds beyond it. And sure enough, just before I made it back to Clint the rain started spitting again. Our English weather is so unsettled at the moment - you have to make the most of your opportunities.  My personal thanks to The Dukes of Rutland. It's not your land any more you grouse-shooting, self-important toffs! We the plebs, the huddled masses are enjoying it now.

27 comments:

  1. Hunting certainly isn't my idea of a pleasant day out, that's for sure. I couldn't do it...nor could I mix with those who do.

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    1. "Australia you say? Well dash me! I bet there's damned good hunting over there! Now be a peach and toddle off to the drawing room will you my dear? I bagged eleven brace of birds this afternoon and I need a good stiff brandy! Haw-haw-haw!"

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  2. So I guess at one time people had far more money than brains. Along the way it seems they also lost their money.

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    1. I think finally the tax system caught up with them.

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  3. As holiday shacks go, it's pretty big!
    I especially like the photo of Higger Tor.

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    1. Yeah - that's all it was - a holiday shack. Normally only occupied by The Duke for a month or so each year.

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  4. You certainly live in, or near, some beautiful countryside. Also worth mentioning that a lot of such countryside is only there because a lot of grouse shooting, self-important toffs originally maintained it in that state for their hunting purposes.

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    1. The toffs still hold sway over the Peak District's moors, destroying small trees and burning sections of heather in a cycle. This "moorland management" impacts upon the natural ecology of the area - insect life, fauna, botany. I thank them for nothing. The Peak District should never have been their playground.

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    2. and if they didn't "manage" it for their shooting interests and packed up shooting, what would it then become, a sterile desert eaten to the bone by sheep perhaps?

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    3. No. It would become a natural wilderness - as it was before grouse shooting became all the rage amongst the landed gentry. There would be more migratory and native birds, more small mammals, more raptors... I am surprised that you appear to be aligning yourself with the toffs Derek... or should I say Baron Faulkner?

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    4. No, I'm not aligning myself with the toffs, you know I'm heavily into conservation and this subject has been debated many times on conservation forums that I go on. This illusion that if all grouse shooting stopped, that all of a sudden the moors would return to a wonderful wilderness packed with wildlife, is in a lot of cases just that an illusion. With the loss of the huge sums of money that shooting brings in, other means of making money would be looked at and they wouldn't necessarily be wildlife friendly. Plus there are the pest control management that would also be lost, something that some threatened species depend on, and so on. A lot of toffs are responsible for the up-keep of a huge acreage of habitat that wouldn't necessarily be there if shooting wasn't carried out. I'll leave it at that.

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    5. Of course it would take years for the natural wilderness to return. I have observed this happening in areas where grouse shooting has ceased. In the Peak District it is well-known that gamekeepers have shot wild and rare hawks that might prey upon young grouse. I am afraid I don't go with this notion that we can trust the landed gentry to look after vast swathes of our landscape. I'll leave it at that.

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  5. Now I want to call someone a toff. We don't use that word here but it's perfect for a few folks I know :)

    I am still laughing at Red's comment!

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    1. You have toffs living in Red Deer, Alberta - Lord and Lady Red. They occupy the family's ancestral home on a large estate. Lord Red enjoys squirrel shooting and sometimes fishes by the lake close to his vast property.

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  6. It won't surprise you to read that the picture of the barn and the gate is my favourite of this lot.
    Good to see a cow being allowed to remain with her young ones (two - not unusual but still a lot of work for Mama Cow) for so long.

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    1. That barn is interesting. Some great stone work there. See this picture:-
      http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3893152

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  7. I appreciate how the NT have opened up land to all that was previously owned by the landed gentry or extraordinarily rich individuals. I live in a busy semi-rural commuter village whose business is education with some 2500 children coming into the village to attend one of four schools (a primary, a comprehensive with sixth form, and two private schools) but we have a 1400 acre NT estate comprising formal garden, woodland, farmland and rolling chalk down land on our doorstep. This estate links to Denbies vineyard and then to Norbury park so I can cycle off-road to the office in Leatherhead and pretend I am a lady of leisure riding through her countryside. We're in Dorset and had an uncomfortably close encounter with a bellowing bull yesterday.

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    1. The last sentence sounds funny - like a scene from a "Carry On" film but having had that experience myself I know how very scary such encounters can be. You can't reason with an aggressive bull. You must be on holiday in Dorset as Leatherhead is near London.

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  8. Is the lodge open for visitors? Those do look like some healthy cows. What is UP with this weather?!

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    1. Most of our summer weather comes to us from across The Atlantic. I blame Donald Trump. And yes - the lodge is open to visitors but not like a stately home.

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  9. Hunting for sport and "trophies" (shudder) is something I have a problem with. Hunting for food, not so much. I do eat meat, so I'd be a hypocrite to put down hunters who eat what they manage to shoot. There are plenty of hunters in this area who go after deer and wild pigs and stock their freezers with the meat afterwards. I wouldn't enjoy getting my meat that way, but I can hardly fault them for it.

    Lovely pictures, as usual, Neil. You really do live in a beautiful place!

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    1. I am also a carnivore. In England, most hunting is an upper class activity and it's not about putting meat on the table. It's about the thrill of killing. It's not a thrill I share. I don't even like killing garden slugs or wasps.

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  10. YOU CONVERSED WITH A BULL? I'd have been off in the opposite direction as fast as my little legs could carry me.

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    1. Bulls are like men. Calm and reasonable most of the time but liable to occasional outbursts of aggression. It's the same with sharks.

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  11. Like the gate with the barn. You seem to find a lot of cows on your wanderings, YP !

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    1. All my life cows have been attracted to me CG. It must be my bullish behaviour or perhaps I look like Jim Bowen from "Bull's Eye" - "Super, smashing, great." "Let's have a look at what you could have won" etc..

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  12. Longshaw kitchen garden is tucked away behind the tea-room. ... Climb a huge hill at Longshaw and the Eastern Moors. ... Hay meadow monitoring is now an annual event for staff and volunteers on the Longshaw Estate in the Peak District and is of great importance.
    ตารางคะแนนบุนเดสลีกา

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