Locals and charities are to urge an inquiry to stop the MoD from reviving the historical practice of enclosing common land
William Patterson should be out with his flock, separating the lambs from the ewes before letting loose the rams for tupping season. The farmer’s family has been rearing sheep “at least since the 1800s”, he says, and feel as much a part of the Cumbrian landscape as the becks that line the fells.
Instead, Patterson is gearing up for a fight against something even older than his family tree: enclosure. The taking of common land into private ownership is a controversial practice that has sparked rebellions and riots from Tudor times onwards and led to the creation of 19th-century conservation movements, including the National Trust.