Helping you to help wildlife on your farm

Good conservation management is about understanding the locally important wildlife, choosing the right measures and managing them in the right way. Farm Wildlife has been developed with farmers for farmers.

Our management approach brings together best practice advice from a broad range of wildlife organisations to identify the 6 most important steps for restoring wildlife on your farm.

Why Take Part?

Taking the Farm Wildlife approach won't just help wildlife. Depending on how you choose to implement the advice, you could see much wider benefits across the farm.

Pollination

pollination

Pollinating insects, such as bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies are vital for both the pollination of crops and wildflowers.

Soil Health

soil-health

Healthy and productive soil is the most valuable asset on the farm. Soils are home to over a quarter of living species on earth

Pest Control

pest-control

Supporting beneficial insects improves biodiversity on the farm and forms part of an integrated approach to pest management

Farm Business

farm-business

Supporting biodiversity on the farm can also open up opportunities for your business, including diversified income streams and new market opportunities

6 Key Elements...

To help farmland wildlife the most, try to implement a range of advice from these key elements.

Existing Habitats

existing-habitat

Habitats already established on the farm are often the most wildlife-rich. Looking after the existing features on the farm and managing them well should be the priority when providing space for wildlife.

Flower-rich Habitats

flower-rich-habitat

Many native flowering plants depend on farming practices for survival, including rare arable specialists and the wildflower-rich grasslands which were once common-place across the landscape.

Field Boundaries

field-boundary

Field boundaries perform important functions for the farm, but also provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Well-managed boundary features can support a range of wildlife, as well as connecting habitats across the landscape.

Seed-rich Habitats

seed-rich-habitat

Traditional agriculture provided seed-rich habitats throughout the year that wildlife evolved to exploit. Many birds became farmland specialists, relying on these habitats for food, especially through the winter.

Wet Features

wet-features

Water is a crucial element for wildlife.

With the right management wet habitats can provide some of the most wildlife-rich areas on farmland.

Farmed Area

farmed-area

Small tweaks in the management of the farmed area can deliver benefits to specific species or the overall farmed environment.

In practice

Put into practice, the Farm Wildlife approach can deliver real success.

Learn how other farmers have put Farm Wildlife principles into practice

Helping water voles on your land

4th November 2021

Author: People’s Trust for Endangered Species Water voles are found throughout the UK. They can thrive in many different wetland habitats in both the lowlands and uplands, such as ditches, ponds and streams. Landowners and farmers are key to helping water voles by creating and maintaining the optimum habitat they need. Why water voles need…

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Saving the cirl bunting from extinction in the UK

14th September 2021

Author: Lynne Roberts A desperate situation The cirl bunting is the UK’s rarest farmland bird. Having once been widespread in southern England and Wales, the UK population of cirl buntings suffered a dramatic decline from a peak in the 1930s. In 1989, a national survey recorded just 118 pairs, mostly in the south of Devon.…

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Dairy farm creating a buzz

29th July 2021

Authors: Gethin Davies (RSPB), Anna Hobbs (BBCT), Stuart Taylor (farmer, Argoed) Dairying can be a challenging sector for farmers and wildlife. Small margins have driven increasing scale, efficiency and specialisation, which has tended to squeeze out people and space for nature. The number of dairy farmers in the UK has declined by two thirds since…

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Managing hedges for pollinators

4th June 2021

Author: Steven Falk It’s easy to be dismissive of insects, yet about one-third of all the food we consume has required a pollinator to put it there, and by pollinator, I don’t just mean honey bees. Nearly one-quarter of Britain’s 24,000 insect species visit flowers and wild bees, hoverflies and moths are especially important. Even…

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Introducing Fair to Nature – a new partner for Farm Wildlife

3rd June 2021

When we developed the Farm Wildlife approach, we wanted to make sure that the advice was not only simple to follow, but based on the latest evidence so that it would work – both for farmers and for wildlife. A new partner for Farm Wildlife We are therefore delighted to welcome Fair to Nature to…

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New research: What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?

19th February 2021

Authors: Dr Tom Timberlake and Prof Jane Memmott  A new study by Tom Timberlake and colleagues at the University of Bristol shows how important late summer flowers and rural gardens can be for supporting bumblebees on UK farmland. Does this offer an opportunity to devise more targeted agri-environment schemes for pollinators? Pollen and nectar are…

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Case study: Reversion of arable land to lowland chalk grassland

8th August 2020

Author: Lynne Roberts:  The RSPB’s Manor Farm, Newton Tony, Wiltshire Aims and setting Chalk grassland is one of the richest landscapes for wildlife in the UK and is a habitat which has suffered significant losses in past decades. This case study focuses on Manor Farm in Wiltshire, now the operational base of RSPB’s Winterbourne Downs…

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Case Study: Managing hedges on an extended rotation – Using an excavator mounted finger bar and tree shear

28th July 2020

Author: Fraser Hugill: Throstle Nest Farm, Sproxton, North Yorkshire The Management Challenge In recent years I have taken over the management of the family farm. The farm business consists of 350 acres, split over two different holdings, both with fantastic hedgerow networks that support lots of wildlife but with very different management needs. I wanted…

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Case Study: Carabid beetles for natural-enemy pest control

12th July 2020

Author: Kelly Jowett: If there was an agent acting within your crops that could reduce eggs and first instar larvae of the cabbage root fly by up to 90%; reduce emerging wheat blossom midge by 81%; and reduce seed stock of crop weeds in the range of 65-90%, then I’m sure you’d want to keep…

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Case study: Insecticide-free arable farming

4th May 2020

Author: Martin Lines Farm: Papley Grove Farm, Cambridgeshire: 160 ha farmed in-house plus 360 ha contract farmed Aims: In 2013, my agronomist recommended that I spray for black bean aphid, but conditions were too wet and windy for a period of ten days, after which aphid numbers had dropped and ladybirds were eating them, so…

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