Sustainable Farming Groups
Background to the groups
The Arden Farm Wildlife Network was established in 2018 with help from the RPA’s facilitation fund. The aim was to help farmers in the Arden area learn more about environmentally friendly farming techniques and to improve habitats for farmland wildlife, creating networks for nature across the area. Warwickshire Wildlife Trust worked in partnership with independent farm environment advisor, Zoe Bell, to promote the network and facilitate the running of events and projects.
Due to the success of this project, Warwickshire Rural Hub has worked in collaboration with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Severn Rivers Trust to launch two new sustainable farming groups, the Leam and Upper Avon and the South Warwickshire. The 3 groups now cover the whole of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull meaning farmers everywhere can get involved.
These groups bring together like-minded farmers to share best practice on how to improve their farm for wildlife whilst maintaining a productive farm. The groups also support the farmers:
- to increase their knowledge of managing on-farm habitats
- to access further funding to engage in landscape scale conservation projects
- with the transition of phasing out of BPS and into ELMS
- with contributing to the target of achieving net zero agriculture
- with signposting to advice and funding available for the environment
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s agricultural land advisor, Sally Eadon, also helps to support the groups by offering 1 to 1 advice for any of the farmers. A visit by Sally is also available to all farmers and landowners in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull who are interested in providing for wildlife and improving biodiversity on their land. You can email Sally on this link.
If you are interested in joining one of the groups, please email Warwickshire Rural Hub coordinator Jane Hampson.. The groups are for farmers and land managers only, are free to join and attendance at events is not compulsory. Email Jane
The latest newsletter for the sustainable farming groups is available for download below.
Arden Farm Wildlife Network
Facilitator: Zoe Bell
The Arden Farm Wildlife Network now has 46 members covering 10,400 hectares. As the longest running group, it has set a brilliant example for the newer groups to follow and is continuing to deliver great environmental benefits. Farmers in the network have come together to learn about habitat management for specific species, as well as regenerative and sustainable farming practices. They have also worked together to deliver landscape scale projects such as meadow restoration, Barn Owl and Tree Sparrow conservation, and tree planting in hedgerows and woodlands.
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone connected with the rainwater harvesting event. I found it extremely helpful and interesting. The event gave me the answers I have been looking for and raised a few far more important ones that I haven’t considered. Refreshments were very welcome and the venue was ideal.” Feedback from a member about a recent event.
21 November – Soil Mentor App training
Leam and Upper Avon Sustainable Farming Group
Facilitator: Sally Eadon and Imogen Rutter
The Leam and Upper Avon Sustainable Farming Group was launched in October 2021 and currently has 21 members covering 3595 hectares. Events organised so far have included:
- an inspiring presentation by Herefordshire farmer, Ben Taylor Davies, aka RegenBen, on regenerative farming,
- a look at the environmental work undertaken on Weston Hall Farm
- a walk and talk about hedgerows including condition assessment and management strategies
- a talk on using the Farm Carbon Toolkit.
Severn Rivers Trust kindly help to support the work of the group by providing a facilitator.
19 November – Soil mentor app training
South Warwickshire Sustainable Farming Group
Facilitator: Kirsty Righton
The South Warwickshire group started strong in June 2021 with 25 farmers covering 6977 hectares. Numbers are steadily growing as more events are held and so far, these have included:
- a tour of the sustainable farming methods used at the Upton Estate,
- talks on Countryside Stewardship and Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes,
- walks and talks looking at the benefits and implementation of cover crops and seeding field corners and margins,
- how to use the Farm Carbon Toolkit,
- a free pie and pint discussion and planning evening.
The activities of the South Warwickshire Sustainable Farming Group are kindly grant-aided by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the Environment Agency.
“I found the recent webinar with Defra excellent. The chief officer for designing the ELMS standards and the other Defra staff were able to answer all my questions in a most helpful way.” Feedback from a member after a recent event.
21 November – Soil Mentor app training
Reports from previous events
28 February 2023 – Update on ELMS by Defra 28.2.23
23 January 2023 – SWSFG planning meeting report
16 November 2022 – Making Cover Crops Work for You
7 July 2022 – Managing Margins with Seed Mixes
Enquiry about the Warwickshire sustainable farming groups
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Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors
Karen Ellis (Chair)
Marion Perrett Pearson
Environmental Steering Group Members
Zoe Bell (Chair)
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm
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