Following a risk/reward analysis, we are no longer involved in any stewardship schemes. However, the current cross-compliance greening regulations, mandatory under the government’s interpretation of the Common Agricultural Policy, has meant that we have taken more land out of production for the apparent benefit of wildlife. This policy accounts for the apparently neglected state of some areas of the farm, and of the hedges.
Deer emerging from the hedgerows at Down Farm, September 2009
The hedge above will have been cut in December 2008. The cultivations for the crop are kept back from the hedge. This combination provides excellent wildlife cover. The hedge was next cut in September 2010.
Wild flowers growing alongside the crops – field edge management produces good environmental results up close to an intensively managed crop.
The Farm Woodland Scheme
Under the Farm Woodland Scheme we have established 5 hectres of native woodland on land which was previously growing arable crops. Their is permissive public access to this area which can be accessed off Ford Lane.
Preserving our Heritage
The farm has a number of architectural features which we maintain at our own expense, for example, one of our barns is a listed building from 1723, which we recently retiled.
The barn, built in 1723, is still in use as a grain store, which is very close to it’s original use!