A conservation gem in the heart of Windermere

The view from High Lickbarrow in Windermere

For over 60 years, High Lickbarrow was a traditional family farm owned by the Bottomleys. With no artificial inputs and little mechanisation, the land is high quality and much of it is designated as a site of special scientific interest.

High Lickbarrow farm came to the National Trust in October 2015 following the death of the donor Michael Bottomley, a much loved and respected local architect and artist. For over 60 years, Michael lived on the small 106 acre farm. It was purchased by his parents in 1947 and traditionally farmed by his sister, Elizabeth and father.

He left the property to the National Trust to ensure that appropriate land management would be put in place to sustain the remarkable biodiversity found on the farm. It is a conservation gem and much of the farm is designated as a site of special scientific interest due to the abundance of wild flowers that still grow in the fields. Grazed by cattle only, with no artificial inputs and little mechanisation, you get the feeling that nature has been given space to thrive; demonstrated by the amount of bird song and wealth of wildflower, herbs and insects. 

The land is now home to 25 rare Albion cattle, a breed with a docile nature perfect for conservation grazing, especially as the farm is surrounded by houses and footpaths. This breed of cow has been on the farm for over 20 years, since Elizabeth’s vet suggested she start keeping them. Rarer than pandas, blue whales and many other species around the world, Albion cattle currently only count 157 breeding females in the country and are not yet recognised as a true breed.