Thursday, 27 September 2012

UK’s most wildlife friendly farmer is in Wiltshire

Wildlife and food production together

September 2012. Henry Edmunds, of Cholderton Estate in Wiltshire, has been crowned the UK's most wildlife-friendly farmer 2012. Henry is the first English winner of the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award having received the highest number of votes out of the 17,000 cast by members of the public. Cholderton is a mixed organic farm, and their motto is 'sustainable agriculture in practice'. Henry has spent more than 30 years balancing modern agriculture and the preservation of the countryside.

Corn bunting, lapwing and grey partridge
On the farm Hampshire Downs sheep graze chalk grassland that is alive with flowers and buzzing with insects, including rare bumblebees, moths and butterflies. Corn bunting, lapwing and grey partridge thrive amongst the crops, alongside the diminutive harvest mice and rare arable plants such as cornflower and pheasant's-eye. This abundance of wildlife sits neatly alongside food production where the harvest delivers a healthy landscape, economy and environment.

Tracé Williams, speaking for the RSPB in Wiltshire, said: "Cholderton Estate is an impressive example of what it's possible to achieve for wildlife within a commercial farming system, and shows that conservation needn't clash with profitability."

Henry Edmunds said; "I am delighted to win the Nature of Farming award for 2012. This represents the culmination of many years of habitat improvement on the Cholderton Estate. The whole process has been underpinned by the organic farming regime which has allowed many rare and endangered plants, birds and butterflies to flourish. The farming system is based on permanent and temporary grassland with mixed cropping, with an emphasis on sustainability. Large areas of chalk downland are being restored and populations of ground nesting birds like Lapwings are encouraged and protected."


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