Kendal's Strawberry field and its wildlife - Henry
MORE PHOTOS: scroll down
to skip the background info.
Strawberry field (part of Oxenholme Farm - managed by Christine Bell) is
located in a green gap between Kendal and Oxenholme, a few tens of
metres downhill from Oxenholme Station (west coast mainline) - on SE
side of Kendal, Cumbria, UK.
LAND USE: A "pick your own"
fruit & veg field: open to the public for picking from around start of
July onwards, for e.g. strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants,
raspberries, potatoes etc. Christine Bell has a good regard for wildlife
in the way she manages this field.
Bands of beautiful blue Phacelia
tanacetifolia annuals are sown to provide 'green manure'.
The are dug in to enrich the soil, slightly later than ideal for this
purpose so that the flowers can provide food for numerous bees - mainly
bumblebees, and other beneficial insects.
A variety of wild flower species provide added colours and interest.
In Spring-early Summer the field is a breeding site for lapwings and other
waders (eg oystercatchers) which like the open ground with good all-round
Pickers come here not just from locally (e.g. Kendal, Sedbergh) but also
from further afield (e.g. as far as Preston - maybe as it is a beautiful
location), and some tell me they have come here for many years and would
hate to see the site developed. They often come as a family - and clearly
enjoy the activity.
LANDSCAPE QUALITY: The
Strawberry field has been referred to as an urban landscape of low
landscape quality and low interest by reports and statements to/by the
local government Councils. After
at these photos do you agree with them? The Councils, developers and
absentee owner favour this area to be built over - except e.g. for part of
the drumlin. Maybe
"urban landscape" they are describing what they want the area to be rather
than what it is now? There has often been a downplay and/or omission of
"awkward" fact that this field has for a great many years been a breeding
site for lapwings).
THREATS: Housing threatens the Northern quarter of the
Strawberry field, but the main threat is this: Kendal Rugby Club obtained
planning permission to build over much of the Strawberry field (a large
car-park, 2-storey club-house etc.), but cannot start until they sell
their existing site along Shap Road for development. Sainsbury's wish to
build a supermarket on the Rugby Club's present site. Would you prefer
another supermarket, for increased consumer choice which you have to pay
for, or would you prefer both the existing supermarkets as well as the
wildlife on this site - which you can enjoy for free? Is there more of
value to life than the the stuff you can buy? (to
feed the altar of 'growth' prioritized by Chancellor Osborne and
Such as - appreciating the intrinsic value of wildlife and views for free?
I hope these photos help you to make your choice. Why not write to SLDC:
NO to the Sainsbury's supermarket: we don't need it, and it will threaten
local shops in the town centre and increase Kendal's traffic (focus on
those points, as the Council will give less regard to the strawberry
for you HERE].
1 minute video clip of Kendal's Strawberry field lapwings
- inspiring. I hope Dave films the tumbling display too some
I have numerous photos of the Strawberry field and its
wildlife - these are just a few.
This collection was photographed on 7th July 2013:
Looking NW towards
Kendal, with the Lake District hills beyond
Now zooming in:
- an amazing multi-purpose annual plant - grown as green
manure - and also to feed bees and beneficial insects
- click species name for further information.
Bee visiting Phacelia tanacetifolia flowers
in Kendal's Strawberry field
When I took this photo the area was humming with
thousands of bees - mostly bumblebees.
Possibly the densest concentration of bumblebees in an around
This is not a bumblebee - it looks more like a honey bee:
Potato plants in
The sedge Carex
pallescens in the Strawberry field
"Weeds" can look good - like
these sticky spurrey
This Lapwing photo,
unlike all the other photos here, was not taken on Kendal's strawberry
field, but from the front of the British Trust for
Ornithology's Breeding Bird Survey report for 2011, which contained useful
information on the lapwing's population (see my 'slide
the inquiry for charts and summary data from this)
Picture of Strawberry field from
slide-talk for the Inquiry
to add when I've time!
There are also photos in my submission to the recent Inquiry
Inspectorate and my submissions in previous years to
SLDC Planning consultations e.g. re Land Allocations.
December 2011 submission
to SLDC Planning re extension of planning permission time
condition for developing much of the Strawberry field for Rugby
club / night club / parking facilities
My April 2011
submission to SLDC Planning (here as 2 pdfs) contains some relevant
Green Gap & Strawberry field:
The Kendal-Oxenholme Green Gap (R120, ON1, M2M, RN133M)
Green Gap & Strawberry field (more photos):
R120, ON1, RN133M, M2M: Panorama from The Helm, showing the
landscape importance of the Kendal-Oxenholme Green Gap
TO TOP of page