Farmer Focus: Do visitors realise the history they walk on?

Although harvest started a while ago, having taken two cuts of grass so far, winter barley should just be getting cut as you read this.

The timing for this year’s essential desiccation (glyphosate) was tricky to say the least, with about five growth stages at the same time.

The six-row Libra looks to be the pick of the varieties this year. The rapid growth of the hybrid really stood out once the rain turned up in late spring.

See also: How spearmint oil fits into potato sprout control programmes

Winter wheat is still continuing to bulk up and will hopefully astound with a massive bushel weight (fingers crossed).

Future prices are creeping up, perhaps reflecting the mis-information of potential yields from the world’s greatest exporting countries, alongside a myriad of other market influencing trends, oh and the usual “Trump” factor!

I was fortunate enough to be given a ream of old local maps dating from 1890. They appear to be from an agriculturally based survey, and as such, make fascinating viewing and really make you wonder how people got on with farming pre-mechanisation.

The scale is very large, so lots of features are easy to spot. The railway lines were, of course, in full use back then, but produce still had to get to and from the stations.

As different folk viewed the maps, tales of sippeting beet into wagons, heaving sheets of barley, droving livestock and so on all came to life.

Although plenty of quarries, lime kilns and dew ponds have disappeared in our changing world, lots of things still remain.

Certainly plenty of hedges, trees, water courses, footpaths and bridleways (which were essential back then) remain the same. Just how many of today’s rural tourists know the history they are walking on? Perhaps we should make more of it and tell them?

Rural life must have been a lot different from today’s hectic logistics.

I couldn’t help doing a bit of research into rail freight, to find out that it could be just as frustrating as today. Lines were built and never used, even cuttings were constructed, but no tracks ever laid. It seems even in 1890 the confusion about rail policy was just as evident as today.


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