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.



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

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


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

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


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


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 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


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


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


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

Adding Value to Chalk Grasslands: Creating Chalk Banks to benefit butterflies and other insects.

29th September 2019

Author: Lynne Roberts . Farm: The RSPB’s Manor Farm, Newton Tony, Wiltshire Aims and setting: Manor Farm is a 296 ha working farm strategically placed between two of the largest tracts of semi-natural chalk grassland in the British Isles – Salisbury Plain and Porton Down. The RSPB purchased Manor farm in 2006 and have been […]

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British dung beetles – here to help

15th April 2019

Author: Ceri Watkins, Co-Founder of Dung beetle UK Mapping Project Species: Dung beetles Why is farmland important for these species? There are approximately 60 species of dung beetle in the UK. They are not the ‘ball rollers’ seen in warmer countries and on TV, instead they live inside the dung pile (dwellers) or in the […]

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Using hay strewing as a technique to create species-rich grassland

10th October 2018

Author: Jennifer Palmer Farm: High Burnham Farm, Epworth Aims High Burnham is a large (+300ha) arable farm.  As part of the RSPB’s Axholme and Idle Farmland Bird Initiative¹ (Lincolnshire), an opportunity was identified to revert an arable field corner to a species-rich meadow.  The 1.7ha field corner sits within the base of a large L-shaped arable […]

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Helping hedgehogs on farmland

20th August 2018

Hedgehogs have been associated with farmland for centuries. Hedgehogs are insectivores, foraging in fields and on grassland for worms, and along field margins and at the base of hedgerows for beetles, snails and other invertebrates. They are considered a generalist species, but as the dominant habitat in the UK, farmland is particularly important for hedgehogs.

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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 The North Pennines is a special place, providing excellent habitats for a wide range of important wildlife. The landscape has the highest density of breeding waders in mainland UK and more than 80% of England’s black grouse. As a result, the area has […]

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