Many of NFFN Partner Organisations work with farmers. This month we are showcasing the fantastic work that farmers across the UK are doing with The Wildlife Trusts
Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside Wildlife Trust’s South Pennines Grasslands Project is working to restore 200 hectares of species-rich grassland, working with landowners to diversify grassland species by scarifying and seeding, installing field boundaries, providing livestock handling infrastructure and improving access to facilitate land management. They are also hoping to make existing areas of grassland that is good for wildlife bigger, creating a network of meadows. If you have land in the project area, then there may be opportunities to get involved; the project is also looking for volunteers. Find out more here.
This partnership aims to restore and recreate up to 800 hectares of Lincolnshire’s lost wild fenlands between Bourne, Spalding and Market Deeping. Working with local landowners, farm tenants and communities, the project is undertaking a programme of habitat restoration including wet grasslands, utilised for grazing and hay production, reedbeds, swampland, wet woodlands and open water. The end result will be a connected wild landscape where wildlife can thrive, with Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves Baston and Thurlby Fens at the centre. Educational, leisure and recreational facilities will also be developed – connecting people to the landscape and their fenland history. See their website for more information.
The Arden Farm Wildlife Network led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Zoe Bell covers 8,500 hectares – around half the western side of Warwickshire – with farmers in this area sharing best practice for managing their farms for wildlife. By collaborating, for example to create rough grassland, benefiting small mammals and in turn birds of prey, or buffer strips for pollinators, this group of farmers achieve a much better result by creating a connected landscape. Find out more here
Farmers have been working with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to improve their land to benefit wild insects such as bumblebees. As part of the project commercial farmer, Jonathan Boaz, has been improving his 600-acre farm both for business and wildlife by creating a wet grassland, amongst other measures. The wetland is filtering out the phosphates coming off his fields, preventing it from polluting the nearby river. Wildflowers are also abundant, providing homes and food for pollinators – and dragonflies abound. Find out more about the project here.
Farm Cluster around the River Beult
Kent Wildlife Trust in partnership with Southern Water is working to establish a Farm Cluster in the River Beult catchment. A cluster is a group of farmers willing to collaborate in their farming approach, sharing best practice and joining together to achieve a truly wildlife-rich farmed landscape. By working together it is possible to have a much bigger and better impact for local wildlife e.g. improving water quality in the River Beult for fish and insects – and can also help unlock funding from non-Government schemes and provide support in navigating the Government’s ELM scheme. So if you manage land in between Ashford, Biddenden and Bromley Green and are interested then please get in touch: email@example.com.
Northern Ireland’s tiny barn owl population has been given a much-needed boost with the discovery of a new nest site in County Down – bringing the known number of active sites up to just three! Two fluffy white chicks recently made their first appearance from a nest box erected almost five years ago by Ulster Wildlife much to the delight of wildlife-friendly farmer and NI chair of NFFN, David Sandford – who’s land the box is on. The chicks have been checked and ringed to help monitor their survival. Ulster Wildlife are running a campaign to help boost their population further. Find out more here.
Devon Wildlife Trust’s Working Wetlands is part of South West Water’s Upstream Thinking programme, which is working to keep our drinking and bathing water clean – and therefore reduce treatment costs – by stopping pollutants from entering the rivers and streams to begin with. For the last ten years, Working Wetlands has been providing confidential, expert advice and practical solutions to farmers in six Devon catchments – and advisors continue to work with farmers to help address the challenges they face. This include offering free advice and support with applications to the new Countryside Stewardship scheme, as well as being able to offer some capital grants. Typically advice includes helping landowners with reducing pesticide use, riverside fencing, preventing run-off, soil management and habitat restoration. More information is available on Devon Wildlife Trust’s website.
Working with more than 165 land managers over the last six years, Essex Wildlife Trust volunteers have managed to install a staggering 300 nest boxes for barn owls across the county. Monitored annually, with BTO ringing adults and chicks, these boxes are helping to provide a better picture of barn owl numbers and population dynamics. Watch this short video.
Birds of prey in the Peak District are no longer the common sight they once were. Some suffer from illegal persecution, whilst for others, such as merlins and owls, the cause is less clear. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has granted funding to a partnership made up of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, RSPB, National Trust and Peak District National Park Authority to progress a new Upland Skies scheme that is aimed at reversing their fortunes. This will include raising public awareness of the threats faced by birds of prey and inspire people to take action, as well as champion positive land management practices. Find out more here.
Talk: Farming for the Future – The Heritage Centre, Desborough, NN14 2RS – 10th September, 7:30pm