Meet the team looking after Thorneythwaite

The team at Borrowdale

With so many different aspects of farm management at Thorneythwaite, we need a solid team, working away on the land and also doing the thinking. Here are a few of the key people we'd like to introduce you to and do say hello if you spot us in the valley.

Meet a few of the team to give an idea of their skills, knowledge and what they get up to.

Joe Weir shepherd at Thorneythwaite and his dog Ruby
Joe Weir shepherd at Thorneythwaite and his dog Ruby

Joe Weir is employed by the National Trust as a shepherd for Thorneythwaite for the first twelve months while we take the time to create our plans for the future of the land with the local community. He’s lived in the valley all his life at the farm which his great-grandparents bought in the 1950s and his family have farmed here ever since. This makes him the fourth generation of his family to farm in Borrowdale. His great grandfather grew up farming at Matterdale End, and he has relatives farming at Eskdale, so Cumbrian hill farming is very much a family tradition.

" I’ve always known that farming’s what I wanted to do. It’s always been farming for me."
- Joe Weir, Shepherd
Penny Webb - Countryside Manager
Penny Webb - Countryside Manager

Penny Webb is the countryside manager. She’s worked for the National Trust for more than 25 years as a ranger in both Yorkshire and Cumbria and she’s lived in Stonethwaite, a hamlet in Borrowdale, since 2003. She manages the ranger team in the North Lakes and is a passionate advocate for sustainable land management; a way of managing countryside to deliver multiple benefits for visitors, local communities and for nature.

She’s also been the proud winner of ‘best in show’ rosette for the National Trust stand at the Borrowdale Shepherd’s Meet in the past, communicating the work that her team do to care for the lakes, rivers, woods and fells in Borrowdale.

Roy Henderson, area ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands
Roy Henderson, area ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands

Roy Henderson is the Area Ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands. He is Cumbrian born and bred, he has worked for the National Trust in Borrowdale since 1982 and lived in the valley for more than 30 years. He’s led a one-man mission for creating wheelchair accessible footpaths and viewpoints around Derwent Water, years before it became a mainstream thing to do.

He’s also spent a career searching for Neolithic rock art in the valley and has a keen eye for how human interventions sit in the landscape, whether it’s the curve of a boardwalk through a wetland, or the quality of a pitched footpath down a steep slope.

Maurice Pankhurst woodland ranger
Maurice Pankhurst woodland ranger

Maurice Pankhurst is the Woodlands Ranger. He has lived and worked in Borrowdale since 1996 and has spent much of his career working with Natural England, Forestry Commission and the farming community to protect the internationally significant Atlantic Oakwood habitat that is in the valley.

His mission has been to halt any further fragmentation of the woodlands, reduce the pressure caused by years of grazing in the past and to enable the remaining fragments of a forest that once stretched from Scotland to Cornwall to join up and to regenerate. His work with the farming community to reduce sheep and wild deer grazing in the woods is allowing the next generation of trees to come along and support the rich biodiversity that depends on this English rainforest.

Andy Warner ranger in Borrowdale
Andy Warner ranger in Borrowdale

Andy Warner started work as a ranger in Borrowdale in 1986, and has been repairing the walls, fences, hedgerows and paths ever since; helping to make our plans for access and conservation in the valley a reality.

He’s got an amazing depth of knowledge of the history of the valley, from the Norse settlements through to the present day and specialises in being able to read that history from the traces each wave of settlement left on the landscape.

" It has taken thirty years of working for the Trust and a couple of years into my seventh decade on the planet, to find my most difficult working terrain yet: Thorneythwaite."
- Andy Warner, Borrowdale ranger