Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Massacre at Ouzel Thorn

It was Sunday again and Kath and I met up to go for our usual  walk. We drove to Abbeystead and parked at Stoops Bridge. We left along the delightful track that follows the Tarnbrook Wyre to Lower Lee and then we took the quiet lane that also follows the Tarnbrook Wyre through to the hamlet of Tarnbrook. The weather had changed again from the warm and settled weather of the previous week to much cooler and windier conditions. Tarnbrook remains unchanged but we did see extensive alterations to one of the old cottages and  this must be a delightful place to live, not too remote, but far enough off the beaten track to enjoy peace and quiet, which is so hard to find these days. We returned following the Wyre Way above the valley back to Abbeystead.  We were upset when passing Ouzel Thorn Farm to find dozens of moles stuck on the barbed wire fence to show that the molecatcher had done his job. I can't see the point in killing these tireless little workers that dig their tunnels and as far as I can see do no harm to the land particularly in an area such as Tarnbrook where there is very poor grazing anyway as the land is so wet and boggy. I thought that they would be beneficial to the land and help drainage. I suppose molecatching is an old country tradition and is still carried on in remote places such as Tarnbrook.  The return journey to the car was uneventful but just after our arrival back at Stoops Bridge someone had a brief view of a kingfisher flashing by. The images show the road to Tarnbrook, a very new lamb at Tarnbrook, mole massacre at Ouzel Thorn farm and a way marker for the Wyre Way.


  1. Sorry to dwell on the most barbaric of your subject matter on this delightful walk Brian but I agree with your uncontroversial comments regarding the mole massacre to which I could add an arm's length in reply but won't. However, I could never take any of these country folk serious in anything they say or do whilst they engage in this sickening and pointless behaviour. I've tried to get educated replies as to why they do it, the best I can come up with is......In bygone days apparently it was as proof to the landowner that the farmer was doing his job right and to the best of his ability......Oh dear!

  2. Yes Brian, it is prevalent in Northumberland, in fact we regularly pass a professional mole catchers house and believe it or not its his full time job. Lesley our hosts at the cottage we stay at is a wonderful person but steeped in country traditions, it is handed down from one generation to the next and their beliefs are unshakable. The fox, badger,snake, raptors and the poor moles must go. I find adders and she knows it but I dont tell her where. Last year the going rate for a mole was £2.75