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 Actions...

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

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

Case study: Are herbal leys good for bumblebees?

23rd February 2024

A new study by Bumblebee Conservation Trust  Introduction Herbal leys (also called multi-species leys) contain a mix of grasses, legumes and herbs, and provide diverse forage for grazing animals. Research indicates these swards do as well as standard rye-grass leys in terms of dry matter yield, milk yield and lamb weight, and can outperform rye-grass…

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Cultivated margins

29th March 2023

Cultivated Margins helping arable weeds and Turtle Doves to thrive By John Secker, Glebe Farm Cultivated margin with Common poppy, Bladder campion and White campion. Nothing is sown in these margins, all these species are naturally occurring. (c) John Secker Introduction Glebe farm is an arable farm in West Norfolk, situated on the very western…

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Planning woodland and tree management on an arable farm

3rd March 2023

RSPB Hope Farm, Cambridgeshire; 181 ha arable farm Aims RSPB Hope Farm seeks to restore biodiversity, whilst maintaining productivity and profitability. As part of this, the RSPB is seeking nature-positive ways of minimising greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to and mitigating climate change. Trees and shrubs can lock up carbon and the aim here is to…

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How many pollinators visit your farm – and why are they important?

15th June 2022

Brown-banded Carder Bumblebee at Sheepdrove Farm (c) Martin Harvey Catherine Jones from Farm Wildlife highlights why pollinating insects are so important for farming and wildlife on farmland, and recommends a quick and simple method for monitoring them. In the UK, wild bees, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects provide free pollination of crops increasing yields, enhancing…

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Trees and cattle combine to boost upland wildlife

11th April 2022

A case study from Tarnhouse Farm by Ian Ryding, farmland warden Tarnhouse Farm is one of two large upland farms in the North Pennines that form RSPB Geltsdale Nature reserve. It comprises areas of moorland and acid grassland, grazed by hardy native-breed cattle for the benefit of wildlife. The reserve also has remnants of ancient…

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Restoring “ghost ponds”

10th March 2022

Resurrected ghost pond (c) Carl Sayer Resurrecting Ghost Ponds by the UCL Pond Restoration Research Group and Norfolk Ponds Project A ‘ghost pond’ is an old pond lost to in-filling. Here, drawing on the experiences of the Norfolk Ponds Project, the Pond Restoration Group at University College London (UCL) reveal how to locate, excavate and…

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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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