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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

Bare ground for butterflies and moths

15th December 2017

Author: Tim Pryor-Lettley Farm: Matterley Estate, Hampshire Matterley is a 2400 acre mixed farm with 200 dairy cattle and 1100 acres of arable including wheat, barley and oilseed rape. The estate ownership and farm management has been in the Bruce family for three generations. Peveril Bruce is a member of the Winchester Downs Farm Cluster […]

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Do we really need to feed the birds?

30th November 2017

Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm shares his experience of providing additional seed food for birds on his farm, and the benefits this has had for tree sparrows in particular. I am often asked do we really need to feed the birds? As someone who sells bird food I am bound to say yes, but […]

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Case study: Herb-rich leys

1st August 2017

Herb-rich leys were introduced into the mixed rotation at Whittington Lodge Farm to build fertility for organic cereal production. Farmer Ian Boyd talks us through the benefits for cereal production, weed control and his Hereford suckler herd.

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Case Study: Restoration of rank wetland habitats to benefit waders

4th August 2016

Author: Dan Brown, Dr Duncan Allison & Sarah Bird Farm: Anston Farm, Dunsyre, South Lanarkshire Aims: Anston is a 651 ha mixed upland livestock farm in South Lanarkshire. A variety of habitats can be found across the farm. The hill ground includes dry heath and acid grassland, whilst the upper in-bye fields contain a mixture […]

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Case Study : Bumper crops from hedgerows

24th March 2015

Author: Jo Terry Farm: Upper Hollowfields Farm, Worcestershire Aims: Upper Hollowfields is a mixed farm with arable crops and cattle/sheep grazing the grassland areas. The hedgerow pattern contributes to the historic character of the site. Hedge management is considered carefully in each field, where possible complimenting other environmental work on the farm, for example higher, thicker […]

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Case Study: A technique for rush control creates habitats for wading birds and black grouse in the North Pennines

10th October 2014

Author: Janet Fairclough Farm: Farms in Baldersdale and Lunedale, North Pennines, Durham Aims: In the North Pennine Dales, the RSPB are working with farmers and land managers to enhance farm wildlife, concentrating on five dales; the Allen Valleys, Baldersdale, Lunedale and Upper Teesdale. The North Pennines is a special place, providing excellent habitats for a […]

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Case Study: Wet grassland for breeding waders in Oxfordshire

6th October 2014

Author: James Taylor Farm: North Aston Farms, Oxfordshire The family has owned the farm since 1907, and we brought management back ‘in-house’ in the 1960s. We converted to organic status over a ten year period from about 1982 and continued as a mixed farm until 2006, when we decided to become purely a livestock enterprise. […]

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Case Study: Delivering for yellowhammers in Northern Ireland

28th September 2014

Author: Robert Maxwell Farm: Ballyhornan, Down Aims: Wild bird cover and the retention of winter stubbles were chosen to help provide adequate feeding opportunities for priority seed-eating bird species such as the yellowhammer, tree sparrow, skylark and linnet. These features are important during the harsh winter months, when food sources are often scarce. Rough grass […]

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Case Study: Managing for breeding waders on Shetland

26th September 2014

Author: Sue White Farm: Uradale Farm, Shetland Aims: Breeding waders are very much iconic species in Shetland. This particular feature forms an integral part of a holistic plan and along with mown grassland for wildlife management benefits breeding waders. Uradale Farm covers 750ha of mostly heather moorland. On the lower ground there are about 200ha […]

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Case Study: Using unharvested cereal headlands combined with cultivated margins on heavy land

26th September 2014

Author: Martin Lines Farm: Papley Grove Farm, Cambridgeshire Aims: Using options that need spring establishment can be difficult on heavy land. We wanted to find a way of providing conservation management without needing a great deal of work in the spring and without causing undue problems to the crop following it. I grow winter wheat, winter […]

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