On 21 May, farmers and advisers from across the country met on the Marlborough Downs to share their experiences of farmer led, landscape scale conservation.
Representatives from 18 groups from as far afield as Devon and Norfolk got together for talks on how farmer led groups are making a real difference to the habitats, species, soil health, water quality and historic features of their local landscapes, and how we might look to wider collaboration as we go forward with new farming and environment policies.
The farmer led conservation movement started back in 2012 when the Marlborough Downs farmers won government funding in the Nature Improvement Area pilot scheme, and now well over 100 groups have formed around the country.
Jemma Batten has been with the Marlborough Downs project from the beginning: “We had a brilliant day in the sunshine with morning talks on the history of the Marlborough Downs Space for Nature and how the farmer led conservation movement has grown nationally, with updates on reversing the decline of tree sparrows on the Downs and the ever-increasing involvement of the non-farming community.”
“A lively Q&A session, then lots of discussion over a hog roast and during trailer rides to see various things that we’ve done over the past seven years – birds and ponds, wildflowers and butterflies, to name but a few.”
“The event was really well received and was a chance for farmers and their advisers to find out what different groups around the country get up to in terms of collaborative conservation work, but also how they are structured, governed and funded.”
“It was a valuable opportunity to learn lessons from one another, as well as to share ideas how we might influence whatever the future holds for the landscape scale approach post Brexit.”