<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Plans afoot to bring hares back to Cartmel Fell

PUBLISHED: 00:08 21 August 2013 | UPDATED: 20:52 19 April 2016

Hare Hill, Cartmel Fell.

Hare Hill, Cartmel Fell.


After planting thousands of trees and miles of hedgerow Julian Lambton is preparing to bring hares back to Hare Hill, as Sue Riley reports

Rigby the labrador Rigby the labrador

Although he is responsible for thousands of acres of the North West’s most beautiful countryside there is nowhere Julian Lambton is more passionate about than Cartmel Fell. That’s where he bought his own farm seven years ago and where he has spent that time restoring wildflower meadows, planting trees and encouraging all kinds of wildlife.

With British meadows on the decrease – one report says hay meadows have declined by 97 per cent since the 1930s due to intensive farming methods – it’s a subject close to Julian’s heart. ‘We knew it was a special place and that’s why we were so keen to buy it. No one can remember the fields ever being ploughed and it’s fairly poor soil so the flowers thrive,’ he says.

Hare Hill, Cartmel Fell, with Julian and Vanda Lambton with labrador, Rigby Hare Hill, Cartmel Fell, with Julian and Vanda Lambton with labrador, Rigby

Julian works as an agent for some of the area’s biggest landowners but he had always wanted his own land so when the 80-acre farm with its unrivalled views to Arnside, the Howgills and Lakeland fells came on the market he and wife Vanda snapped it up. At the time it was under a Natural England stewardship scheme; this spring Julian signed another 10-year Higher Level Stewardship scheme to protect and ‘cultivate’ the hay meadows in return for a small annual grant.

The 33 acres of land given over to meadow (mainly at elevations of 500 feet and higher) are full of beautiful wildflowers including yellow rattle along with orchids, pignut, lady’s bedstraw, birds foot trefoil, ox-eye daisy, orchids, and grasses. In turn, the meadows attract butterflies, skylarks and curlews which have been in steep decline for the past two decades. Looking down over other farmers’ fields the difference is clearly noticeable – they have all been intensively fertilized and grazed over the years; Julian’s meadows are cut much later for hay and haylage giving the flowers time to seed.

His next plan, aptly for a farm called Hare Hill, is to bring breeding hares back to the area. Although he shoots, the hares will be there for pure pleasure rather than sport. ‘If anyone shot a hare on this place I would be furious,’ he says.

He didn’t set out to reintroduce hares but the meadows and newly planted hedgerows provide an ideal habitat for these shy creatures. He says they have seen more hares recently but have no idea if they are breeding. ‘It’s what we have not done that is important. We have not cut the grass early, we have created areas of cover and planted hedgerows where they can find sanctuary.’ Most of the land is let to a local farmer who grazes cattle (the cows have to graze the meadows for a certain number of weeks a year under the Stewardship scheme) and Swaledale sheep. There is one field known as Bull Coppy – where years ago a bull used to graze – filled with scrub and anthills which attract badgers.

Since they’ve moved there Julian and Vanda have planted more than 2,500 oak, ash and wild cherry trees and 3,000 hedge plants on three acres of land. Julian is keen to plant more but considering he and his wife have done it all by hand, he says: ‘My wife might have something to say about that! But I love doing it.’ The new wooded areas are named Claude – after a distant Lambton relation – and Badger after their previous dog.

Julian has spent the past 23 years managing north west estates on behalf of families such as the Le Flemings who own 15,000 acres including a large estate at Rydal, the Stanleys at Witherslack and the Reynolds at Leighton Hall.

As a chartered surveyor and partner at Carter Jonas property agents, he advises the owners on a variety of subjects from taxation to public access issues. That experience has come in handy for his own farm as many of his clients’ tenant farmers are in stewardship schemes, but he says: ‘I experiment more than I might do on my clients’ land. I am not an expert but an enthusiast.’

The couple, who have two adult children, bought the property partly with money left when Julian’s father, Major Charles, Lambton died. His mother is Lady Elizabeth Mary Petty-Fitzmaurice (her father was the 6th Marquess of Lansdowne) and his cousin is the writer Lucinda Lambton. He developed his love of the countryside from an early age when he was brought up on the family estate in Berkshire and clearly remembers a group of Scouts camping on his father’s land and leaving a heap of sprouting potato peelings. Young Julian, no older than 11, planted the peelings in his sandpit and weeks later proudly presented his family with homegrown new potatoes.

He went on to attend Eton and then worked for one of the largest private land owners in Europe before moving to the north west to work for Fisher Hoggarth which was later taken over by Carter Jonas.

Away from work and family, Julian’s Lakeland farm is his passion and he is full of ideas to improve the land including another wooded area with a pond. He recently put up a barn owl box as well.

‘It’s south facing close to where they can feed (on the voles in the newly planted wood) all the ingredients are there but no barn owl…yet’.

He lives in hope and with such enthusiasm for the area’s natural beauty and wildlife he surely deserves to be rewarded.

Hare brained?

There have been reports that hares can reach speeds of up to 45mph

Hares were introduced to the UK by the Romans

Brown hares are widespread in Central and Western Europe

The term ‘Mad March Hare’ derives from the springtime courtship ritual when the females are often seen fending off unwanted males by boxing them


More from Out & About


There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Read more
Lake District
Yesterday, 09:41

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports


Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search