The iconic Stott Hall Farm which sits in the middle of the M62 is joining forces with one of our partners, Yorkshire Water, for the ‘Beyond Nature’ campaign.

Image of Stott Hall Farm

The project is looking to transform how farms across the water company’s patch connect with the land, water and wildlife around them.

Matt Buckler, our conservation and land management programme manager, went along to the famous farm’s Beyond Nature launch event on Thursday 2nd October.

The farm was originally built as a shooting lodge back in the 1700s but became famous in the 1960s when the motorway was built. There’s a local rumour that the resident at the time refused to move out of the farm, so the carriageways had to be constructed around it. It was only recently revealed this conspiracy was false, and the true reason behind its quirky location between the busy thoroughfares is the geology of the land, meaning it was too steep to build all six lanes of the motorway on.

The Beyond Nature project will see the farm focus on a more sustainable future, alongside continuing with traditional work including looking after 900 sheep. Tasks align with our MoorLIFE 2020 project, which is helping to protect remaining active blanket bog across the South Pennines.

Work is being undertaken to re-wet the land including blocking eroded ‘gullies,’ and planting native shrubs and species – including Sphagnum ‘bog’ moss - to make the ground rougher. This will help to improve the quality of the water that everyone drinks and washes with, as well as slowing the flow of water into rivers and streams when it rains, helping to reduce the risk of flooding in local at-risk areas. Sphagnum mosses help to lock carbon dioxide into the ground and play a huge role in the fight against climate change.

Matt shared our story with news reporters during his time at the launch event. He spoke to journalists from The Yorkshire Post and Halifax Courier.

You can get involved in the €16 million MoorLIFE 2020 project – funded by the EU LIFE programme, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities – by volunteering with us. Find out more about the opportunities available.

Image: Stott Hall Farm © Yorkshire Water