Lookers – the meaning of.

‘A Dictionary Of The Sussex Dialect,’ is where I got the term ‘Looker’ from back in 1999; it states:

Looker (east Sussex from Anglo Saxon to ‘look’). A shepherd or herdsman; a man employed to look after cattle in the marshes.

Lookering. The occupation of a ëlookerí in the marshes.

Below, is an additional piece I found on the web, plusother info.  http://www.hunnisett.org.uk/tree/richard1748.php

“Richard Hunnisett (1748 – 1827). Richard was a ‘looker’ in the Wartling and Herstmonceux area. A Marsh Looker was someone who looked after sheep and cattle on the marshes to the south of these villages, on the Pevensy Levels and was often provided with a cottage and a small amount of land and often owned some livestock of their own. Checking the cattle is still known in the area as ‘lookering.’ Whilst it doesn’t sound very glamorous Richard apparently made a good living.”

Traditionally, many local farms would own a small area of the Pevensey Levels and in the days before the car, paid/shared men to keep a day to day watch over their livestock. Exceat Farm near Seaford for instance, then owned 47 acres of the Levels. Today, the word has come to the fore within conservation grazing circles around the country. Wildlife conservation would not be able to manage without volunteer lookers.

Hello and Good Morning!

Laying in bed dozing this morning sometime after 6 o/c when there was a flapping and a clawing sound at the ajar window.  I turned over and in the first instance saw nothing but then, sitting there on the window ledge, was a rather startled moorhen, looking back at me!

A Murky Morning.

Thursday June 20th. A very murky morning weather-wise… Second day on the trot that I’ve gone to check the 5 ponies on Chailey Common and after another couple of hours of walking, given up again. An hour later, received a message to say they had apparently gone through an open gate into an adjoining field. No wonder that I had no joy!

Herd 1 of 32 ponies were very easy to find and check on Ashdown. Moments after I arrived, a Chinook helicopter flew over at a height of about 100 feet, directly above where they were grazing, the ponies hurriedly gathering into a group.

Our Vanishing Flowers.

Britainís wild flowers are in trouble… Ten species have become extinct in the 61-year reign of HM The Queen but even that stark loss hides the scale of the problem. Plantlife’s report ‘Our Vanishing Flora’ reveals the rate of loss of flowers from over 50 counties across England, Scotland and Wales, covering more than half of the British land area. To walk in those fields, woods and moors of 1952 would be an eye-opener for today’s young Britons; it would bring home to them the scale of natural beauty that has been lost through the lifetimes of their parents and grandparents. Britainís wild flowers are indeed in trouble.

Wild native flowers are being lost at a rate of up to nearly one species per year per county, and the rate of loss is accelerating with no sign of slowing. The figures probably understate the seriousness of the situation but they paint a disturbing picture – a picture with the colour draining from it. The reports league table of loss was created using county floras and rare plant registers, recent reports and expertsí personal knowledge and shows that we are losing species at an alarming rate all over Britain.

The county of Sussex fares particularly badly, being placed fourth in the table for loss of species, with a loss-rate calculated at 0.78 per year; in complete contrast, Wiltshire has a loss rate of 0.08. For further details see: http://www.plantlife.org.uk/about_us/news_press/britainsvanishingflowers

Ignore Our Environment at Our Peril…

Much of the UK was until within living memory, countryside with compact villages interspersed with market towns and the occasional city. We are now increasingly degenerating into areas of urban sprawl with the countryside ever shrinking, ever poorer in bio-diversity. Run-off from must-have, paved driveways; vast roofs of industrial estates, out-of-town retail parks,†often built on flood plains combine with our fickle pollution-influenced†weather, to cause increasingly regular flash floods.

Most people are somewhat disconnected with the natural systems that our very existence depends upon. A recent survey suggested that 60% of the public thought that the state of nature was the same or better off, than 10 years ago. This is very simply, not true. Wildlife is fighting and losing, a rear-guard action.† We must triple our efforts to accommodate our environment, or, future generations will be reaping a very bitter harvest!

Driving Home.

Driving home last night over Ashdown Forest just after dusk, having earlier presented a talk, two nightjars flew across the road near Four Counties car park. This was then followed a few minutes later by a muntjac deer crossing the road in front of me, it hesitating in the road, something they are apparently known for. It was actually my first ever sighting of a muntjac though one apparently once dashed close-by me in Suffolk, but I myself was facing the wrong way!