Conservation on the Farm
We are on an agri-environment scheme called Higher Level Stewardship (HLS). It is a 10 year agreement with Natural England which provides us with the funding to carry out work and projects around the farm which will benefit wildlife. This can be anything from planting wildflower patches to increasing nesting sites around the farm.
We are mainly targeting Farmland bird species, aiming to provide them with nesting habitats and food. There are 6 range-restricted or declining species that the measures target, known as the ‘Arable Six’;
Lapwing, Grey Partridge, Turtle Dove, Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting.
The measures in place also tend to be very beneficial for the Skylark, Linnet and Yellowhammer, all of which are on the red list as species of concern.
Conservation at the Farm Park
Our dedicated Conservation Area was opened in spring 2013 and is dedicated to highlighting how important the countryside and farming are to conservation and British wildlife. If you visit the area, you’ll find lots of information about how farmers are working with and around nature, to ensure both are sustainable for the future. The pond, bird boxes and bug houses we have added to the area help to encourage visits from wildlife and this corner of the Park will continue to be developed for years to come.
Around the rest of the park, we feed the birds year round and often have blackbirds, house sparrows and swallows nesting in the barns.
The Wildlife Walk (which begins by the entrance of the Farm Park) runs through one of England’s 4,100 ‘Sites of Special Scientific Interest’. This SSSI is an unimproved limestone grassland with scrub, home to two species that are very rare;
– The Duke of Burgundy Butterfly, which feeds on cowslips and is one of the most rapidly declining butterflies in the UK
– Cotswold Pennycress, found in only 14 sites nationally
There’s plenty you can do at home to help as well. In an increasingly urbanised world, wildlife can struggle to find a home. Even small gardens can be beneficial to wildlife. Leaving a patch of garden un-mowed to ‘go wild’ might surprise you with wild flowers. You can add a bird bath, bird feeders, or hedgehog box. You can even build your own ‘bug hotel’ for creepy crawlies by leaving a pile of logs for them.
All of our visitors – many without realising it! – are getting involved in conservation work. Simply by supporting what we do at the Farm Park, they are helping to make a difference, allowing us to continue to grow, as well as diversifying into other areas of conservation. So if you have been to see us before, or are planning your visit now… thank you.