We have both Entry and Higher Level Stewardship schemes on our farms. At Barton Hill Farm, the HLS scheme was set up in 2006 and it is now well established and proving to be very successful. We have reintroduced lapwings and existing species such as skylarks, yellow-hammers and grey partridge have increased significantly in number. We have also linked the grassland of the Barton Hill Nature Reserve with that of the Pegsdon Hills, taking approximately 16 hectares out of production to create an area of naturally regenerated native species.
Wild flower margins are also a feature on the farm and we have had an amazing display of Vipers Bugloss, which must have been dormant in the seed bank until now, when it has been given the opportunity to flourish.
Over 150 shrubs have been planted on one of our farms and where ancient parkland used to exist we have put in 8 small trees (walnut, horse chestnut and oak). This is all voluntary and should enhance our ELS scheme that runs alongside it.
In 2009 we won Gold in the "Landscape Improvement" category of the CPRE Living Countryside Awards:
"A very impressive project with tangible benefits for wildlife, access and landscape. Excellent demonstration farm, showing integration of environmental protection, preservation of landscape features and commercial farming are compatible. Strong on education – open farm days to groups and other public access. Farm walks a huge success with much community involvement. Use of partnerships and finances to increase value of scheme."