Visiting our sustainable farm partners

We are so proud to work with farmers who are passionate about sustainability and protecting wildlife

Here you can find out more some of the farmers we work with and the steps they take to protect and promote nature.

Hedge End Farm 

We chatted with Graham Birch, who runs Hedge End Farm and is passionate about conservation and sustainable farming. Graham works closely with The Wildlife Trusts through the Jordans Farm Partnership to ensure Hedge End Farm is nature friendly and supports wildlife recovery.

He shared some of the many ways they’re doing this:

 

  1. Wildflowers are at the heart of biodiversity; Wildflowers attract the insects and pollinators; insects attract the small mammals; the small mammals attract the predators therefore creating a full food chain on the farm and truly promoting biodiversity. Graham has created wildflower highways across the farms to give connected corridors for all wildlife. These networks are so important for wildlife, to make safe paths across land so wildlife isn’t isolated
  2. The farm also has several corridors of cultivated margins; these margins are left untouched and no wildflower seeds are planted and these grow plants from seeds that were already in the soil. These cultivated margins provide a good home for lots of insects and bugs in addition to the wildflower corridors
  3. Areas of land have been left fallow and seeds are planted specifically to provide vital food for birds from January to March when food is most scarce. These areas of land are in between hedgerows and woodland so they’re easy for hungry birds to access
  4. They only cut hedges every other year to promote the growth of fruits and nuts. These provide great food sources for birds throughout the year
  5. They leave large patches of land in fields uncut so that the wildlife on that land still has a home to live in

 

By taking these steps, Graham has already made a visible impact to wildlife and has seen the return of a rare bird population of corn buntings to the farm. In fact, in the short time we visit the farm we saw corn buntings, pheasants and young deer all thriving on the farm!

 

If you’re inspired by Graham and his amazing work, here are some of the little steps we can all take:

  • If you have a garden, let wildflowers grow in your lawn and boarders to attract insects and pollinators
  • Leave out food sources for birds – especially from January to March when they most need it
  • Let hedges grow a bit wild to give habitats to insects and berries to birds
  • Instead of gardening, consider ‘ungardening’ to help make your garden wildlife friendly. While this does sound like you get to kick back and let your garden grow wild, there’s a bit of management involved. Here’s a great article with some tips: https://www.theguardian.com/ne...

 

Manor House Farm 

Our team went to meet with George, Elaine and Caroline Morris who run Manor House Farm so we could learn more about the brilliant work they do protecting nature and promoting wildlife.

 

They give a wonderful 15% (roughly!) of their farm land to wildlife as part of their passion for wildlife. They adopt a philosophy of working with nature and love seeing wildlife thrive on their farm.

 

Some of the ways they farm in environmentally friendly ways include:

They sow crops without ploughing to reduce the amount of diesel they use and preserve the condition of the soil

They cut their hedges on rotation so that each hedge is only cut once every three years. This provides varied shelter and food sources for local wildlife

They meet with a wildlife advisor from The Wildlife Trusts several times a year to work out new ways to best support the wildlife that would naturally thrive in their area. And they open their farm up several times a year for Open Farm Sunday and school visits to share their passion for nature and inspire others

 

This dedication to promoting wildlife has meant they see a great variety of wildlife from insects, moths & butterflies in their flower margins to Goldfinches & Skylarks in legume margins, and even brown hares in the long grasses.

 

If you’re feeling inspired by the team at Manor House Farm, here are some little steps you can take based on their actions:

  • Try to use nature friendly methods for gardening, such as reducing water waste
  • If you have any hedges or bushes, allow them to grow to give shelter and food sources to local wildlife
  • Learn about the wildlife local to you so you can tailor your efforts to protecting species that will benefit most

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