If you ever come at stay here at Layhead Farm Cottages, take a walk along the main road to the village car park which you’ll find on the right-hand side of the road heading towards Settle. It’s just a few yards from Rathmell Brow (the hill leading into Rathmell).
Stand by the fence opposite the car park entrance (you might like to take some binoculars if you have some). Not only is this a fantastic spot to watch the early morning sunrise and the moon creep over the hills on a clear night, it’s also a wonderful place to view the valley.
As you look across to the hillside opposite, the village of Long Preston can be seen on the edge of the A65, the road which either takes you up to the Lakes and beyond or down towards to Skipton. You can’t help but notice how flat the valley is between Rathmell and Long Preston, and how wet many of the fields are.
Back in 2004 a floodplain project was set up to enhance the important wet grassland habitats of the Ribble floodplain between Long Preston and Settle – an area known as the Long Preston Deeps.
Part of the flood plain is a nationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because the flat valley bottom and river features support unique wetland flora and fauna.
And the reason why I am telling you all this is because today (2nd February 2021) is International World Wetlands Day.
Wetlands are important the world over, and many similar projects like the Long Preston floodplain project ensure that these important areas are looked after for generations to come.
Here are two reasons how wetlands keep us safe:
- Wetlands provide protection from floods and storms with each acre of wetland absorbing up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater.
- Wetlands help regulate the climate: peatlands store twice as much carbon as forests, with saltmarshes, mangroves and seagrass beds also holding vast amounts of carbon.
Next time you visit Layhead Farm Cottages, make sure you plan a walk along the river side, following the public footpath, from Rathmell to Settle. You can see for yourself a landscape rich in many different species of birds, wildlife and plants.
On a calm summers day when the river is flowing normally, it’s quite a magical place.
Find out more about International World Wetlands Day HERE