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Conservation - Gomde Lindholme Hall - The centre for Tibetan Buddhism in the UK


The Lindholme Old Moor Management Group

In December 2012, following the success of the Peat(skid)Moor Appeal, 30 acres of the SSSI land to the north east of Lindholme Hall was purchased and deeded in perpetuity for the purpose of conservation. The site is part of an area of land known as ´Jack´s Piece´ and following historic records, has been named Lindholme Old Moor. 
In November 2013 the remaining parcel of Jack´s Piece was acquired, giving Rangjung Yeshe UK a total of 60 acres of rare habitat to manage and care for. 

The Lindholme Old Moor Management Group consists of a group of independent specialists who, on a voluntary basis, have kindly agreed to help us manage ´Jack´s Piece´ to best preserve and protect this rare and precious habitat.
This is in line with Pete Skidmore´s vision who, with unusual force, declared at a naturalists meeting - ´We must do something to protect the north part of Lindholme island!´  We hope to fulfil his wish, which resonates with the wishes of many who are passionate about Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

The Vision of the Management Group

Given the significance of Jack´s Piece and the expertise of the LOMM group the vision is far reaching.

Colin Howes and Michael Oliver (members of the LOM management group) have produced a research paper detailing Water table trends and the recent history of Birch colonisation on Lindholme Old Moor,
South Yorkshire
. The paper offers historical insight into the approach of the LOMM group. The introduction to the paper follows, if you wish read the full paper, please click here

Water table trends and the recent history of Birch colonisation on Lindholme Old Moor,
South Yorkshire

Colin Howes and Michael Oliver

1960s: Dr Peter Skidmore, late of Doncaster Museum remembered visiting the Lindholme Old Moor (SE7006) site during the mid 1960s and recalled a habitat of Heather, Cross-leaved Heath, Cotton-grasses, isolated Scots Pines and open peat pools.

A lowering of the water table in preparation for mechanised peat extraction on adjacent compartments of Hatfield Moors (Kilham West, Kilham and Kilham East) appears to have taken place around 1964. This has coincided with the loss of open water habitats, appears to have triggered the ubiquitous Birch colonisation, the advance of Bracken and has led to the current dry heath/wet heath habitat structure, dominated by Birch canopy.

1970s: Between July 1978 and September 1979 Brian Eversham and Mark Lynes surveyed the vegetation of Hatfield Moors (Eversham & Lynes 1980-81). On Lindholme Old Moor (their site 4) they describe 10m tall open Birch woodland on sandy soils bordering the farmland (the ‘Ten acre’) of the Lindholme moraine to the southwest and a population of Pedunculate Oak and Birch. adjacent to Sandy Lane to the southeast. On the peat substrate they describe that a “moderately dense 3m Birch scrub prevails” on the western portion of the site, while on the eastern portion “3m Birch undergrow 7m trees”. Throughout the site the field layer beneath the scrub Birch was characterised by Heather (dominant) and Cross-leaved Heath and that Hare’s-tail Cotton-grass (frequent to abundant) was ubiquitous.

1980s: A more aggressive lowering of the water table in preparation for peat milling/rotavation was commenced during the 1980s. Clearly the site continued to desiccate from 1979 to 1992 since Bracken, described as “weak” in woodland (Eversham & Lynes 1980-81), had become dominant on rides between the Moraine and the central access riding. Also Heather, Cross-leaved Heath and Hare’s-tail Cotton-grass were reduced to being only locally abundant and were by no means ubiquitous.

1990s: From 1992 to 2003, under a Section 39 Agreement between the Local Authority and the Lyon family, considerable efforts were made to increase and retain ground water on site, the performance of the water table was monitored (see Oliver & Howes 2006 and Figure 4), and the surviving heath/mire invertebrate faunas were monitored (Skidmore 2006).

The effect of the drainage on the vegetation was echoed by the catastrophic decline in the Hatfield Moor population of the Large Heath Butterfly. First noticed here in the 1860s local lepidopterists knew it in good numbers here from the 1920s to the 1980s where its larvae fed on waterlogged Cottongrasses and White-beaked Sedge, George E. Hyde referring to “magnificent colonies at Hatfield” (Rimington 1992). In the early 1980s counts of 40-50 were possible, by the end of the decade numbers had halved and it vanished during the 1990s (Rimington 1992).

Future Habitat Management:
In order to restore the un-cut peat areas of Lindholme Old Moor to functioning lowland raised mire, the proposed habitat management is to maintain a raised water table. This is to be achieved by
•Inserting and maintaining dams on the grid of drains across the site.
•Raising the water levels in the Old Moor perimeter drains.
•Removing up to 50% of Birch Betula pendula and B. pubescens canopy in order to reduce summer water loss through excess transpiration.

Read the full paper

The LOMM group wishes to encourage further scientific study of the area.
If you would like to undertake study or survey please complete the application form at the end of this page.

The Management Group consists of the following specialists:

Paul Buckland
Louise Hill
Colin Howes
Tim Kohler
Michael Oliver
Pip Seccombe
Colin Wall
Richard Lyon
Bob Marsh

In the near future, we hope to complete a short profile of each of our experts to show the range of knowledge that has been volunteered for this special project.


Colin Wall
Colin has many years of experience in the field as an amateur naturalist, dating from the early 70s when he first started studying Thorne and Hatfield Moors. Initially his interests were varied and included ornithology, Coleoptera and general flora and fauna. Although he still retains an interest in natural history in general, he has for the past 30 years concentrated on the study of mosses and liverworts.
Early articles and publications include a comprehensive study of Southfield Reservoirs and several ornithological papers concerning the Doncaster area. He has since contributed bryological papers for the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum publication ‘Thorne and Hatfield Moors Papers’.

In 2006, in addition to covering the Doncaster area, he was asked by the British Bryological Society to record in the East Riding of Yorkshire for the new edition of the ‘Atlas of Bryophytes in Britain and Ireland’.

Pip Seccombe

I would describe myself as an enthusiastic amateur naturalist and passionate about Thorne and Hatfield Moors.
I was part of a group which eventually achieved its aim to get these wonderful areas out of the hands of the commercial peat extractors. For many years I was involved in practical work at Lindholme creating habitat for nightjar, one of the very special creatures which breed on the moors.
Further afield I contributed to the Plant Atlas of South Yorkshire, both in the field work and the production of the publication.
I am proud to have been a friend of Peter Skidmore’s in whose memory the money was raised to purchase Lindholme Old Moor which is now safe in the hands of the Buddhist Community at Lindholme Hall. Pete was a mentor and inspiration to me and many others.


Louise Hill

Louise has worked as a freelance ecologist since leaving postgraduate training in Landscape Design at Sheffield University in 1995, having first studied for a degree in Botany (Plant Sciences) at Oxford. She has been involved with Lindholme Old Moor since the mid 1990s when the Doncaster Naturalists´ Society ran informal birch-bashing work days to improve habitat for nightjar on what was then fondly known as the ´Section 39 Area´.

In her spare time Louise is now President of the Naturalists´ Society and represents the Society at various other groups such as the Doncaster Biodiversity Action Partnership and Local Wildlife Site steering group.

Louise is married to Tim (an Engineer who also studied at Oxford) and who now works in IT. He has been advising the Management Group on various technical projects including environmental monitoring (weather station), mapping and current attempts to build a unmanned aerial vehicle for providing aerial photography of the Moor.

When remaining spare time allows both can be found mountain biking and hillwalking, or wild camping, mountaineering and Nordic skiing in Scotland.

Colin Howes









   Paul Buckland

Paul Buckland graduated in geological sciences and archeaology from the University of Birmingham, where he subsequently completed a doctorate in Quarternary Entomology. He has taught in the universities of Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Bournemouth and is currently a self-employed technician specialising in work with fossil insects. 






   Richard Lyon

Richard Lyon was born at Lindholme Hall. His family farmed the land here.
´We were a large family. I was the eldest of 4 brothers and besides us, Mum and Dad, my Dad´s brother, Uncle Harry and their Mum, Minnie Lyon, my Nana also lived with us in the house. When I left school, I went to Agricultural College at Shuttleworth, Bedfordshire then returned to work on the family farm from 1972 onwards.
I lived at Lindholme Hall from birth to getting married to Marjorie in 1982, when we moved into No 2 Lindholme Cottage. In 1985, we had a new bungalow built at the other end of the farm, Lindholme Grange which is where we still are today.
Dad, Harry (we never called him Uncle!) and I farmed the 500 acres of arable land growing, originally, Sugar Beet, Potatoes, Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats and Beans, not necessarily all at the same time.
We had the farm under-drained in the early 70’s because we were being flooded out in wet years, then when the peat production got into full swing in the mid 70’s, it actually helped us because they drained the Moorland, helping to drain our land.
Harry died in the mid 1970’s and when Dad died, just after we were married, Mum took on doing most of the paperwork and I carried on farming alone, growing Wheat, Barley, Peas and Linseed and renting land out for Potatoes, Vining Peas and Red Beet. It wasn’t easy for quite a few years, the bank balance was massively into the red, but we eventually pulled it round and managed to upgrade the machinery and pay off the overdraft.

Dad, Jack Lyon, had previously signed an agreement to prevent the moorland behind the Cottages ever being used for peat production. This area of land, amounting to 60 acres, is now known as Jack´s Piece.´

Richard now farms the land around Lindholme Grange. He has some of his land in HLS and ELS.
´We have about 40 acres of Stewardship grass margins around nearly every field and about 4 or 5 acres total of Wild Bird Cover, Field Corners, Feed Strips etc. On the rest of the now 450 acre farm we grow Wheat, Barley, Oil Seed Rape, Willow (for biomass fuel) and have just started growing Maize for gas production. We’ve considered solar panels but not yet taken the plunge!´

Michael Oliver 

Michael Oliver worked in the Coal Mining Industry as a Mining Surveyor from 1955 until its virtual collapse in 1991. He became a Certificated Mine Surveyor, FRICS in the Minerals Section and gained M.Phil. at the University of Nottingham when specialising in Mining Subsidence. Following redundancy at British Coal he was employed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council as a Town & Country Planner and became Case Officer for Thorne & Hatfield Moors from 1991 to retirement in 2003, steering the moors through a most interesting and eventful decade. ´During this period I became interested in the conservation aspects of the moors and concentrated on conserving remnant populations of the "wet end" of the species range on Lindholme Old Moor until such time as they might get the opportunity of re-colonising the adjacent abandoned peat workings of Hatfield Moors. Also during this period, I made the find of a lifetime when discovering a Neolithic Track Way adjacent to Lindhome Old Moor.´ Michael said ´I am not a trained naturalist but I trust that I bring a different expertise and point of view to the Lindholme Old Moor Management Group´ and indeed he does!


Please complete the Lindholme Old Moor Visiting Scientists/Surveyors Questionnaire

You can download the questionnaire here.