On Monday morning, we travelled the short distance from the Solway Centre to the RSPB reserve at Mersehead, on the Solway Coast near the village of Caulkerbush. Amid gales of larksong (and with a stoat worrying the bird table), we met with the third collaborative pairing of the Poets and Landscape Workers project. The final collaborators are:
- Eric Neilson, Farm Manager at Mersehead, who has over 40 years’ experience working on the site, and
- Gerry Loose: poet, horticulturalist, and designer of gardens, whose work is as likely to appear on the landscape as on the page.
After introductions, Eric and Gerry got down to talking about the Mersehead Reserve and Visitor Centre, which is home over the winter to thousands of migratory geese. Changing farming practices, and the decline of lapwings across the UK, were discussed.
As Eric and Gerry headed off to explore the reserve more thoroughly, we stopped by the visitor centre, where there were tiny lapwings toddling jerkily in full view of the conservatory window.
(l-r Eric Neilson and Gerry Loose)