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THE LARK

THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST

NEWSLETTER Summer 2015 | ISSUE No. 54

Festivals of Farming, Food & Wildlife Plus: Spring Bird Surveys & Volunteers are go


The Country Store

Keep your paws cool this summer at The Country Store

Fly sprays, sun screen, shampoos. All your summer needs. For animal feeds, bedding and accessories, shooting requirements and country clothing come to us this summer!

www.thecountrystore.co.uk Unit 12a, Sawston Trade Park, Pampisford, Cambridge CB22 3EE.

01223 837977

Twyford Farm

Birch Grove, Horsted Keynes RH17 7DJ Bed & Breakfast & Self Catering Double & Family Rooms All recently refurbished 200 acre working farm Walking, Cycling, Fishing & Riding Stabling & Kennel 01825 740726 www.twyfordfarm.com

Festival of Farming, Food & Wildlife

20th Sept 2015 11am - 4pm, FREE entry Come with the family and enjoy a harvest themed celebration of farming, food and wildlife including: • • • • • • • • • •

cooking demonstrations and talks various local food and craft stalls jam/chutney making competition (open to all) children’s activities tractor and trailer rides guided farm walks and harvest fruit picking sheep dog demos and sheep shearing Suffolk Punch horse demos refreshments tent Church service at 4.30pm with guest speaker

Bird’s Farm, Haslingfield Rd, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AG. Tel: (01223) 262999 www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com


Contents

Features The Lark is published three times a year by the Countryside Restoration Trust. The Countryside Restoration Trust is the UK’s leading charity promoting wildlifefriendly farming and campaigning for a living, working countryside. We believe that wildlife is integral to good farming. That philosophy is put into practice on over 1,500 acres of working farms, small-holdings and woodland across the country – where, alongside our tenants, we are demonstrating how farming and other sustainable land uses can co-exist with and benefit from a countryside rich in wildlife. Our mission is to protect the farmed countryside, its wildlife, and the people with the knowledge and skills to look after it – and to communicate that together these represent a strategic resource vital for our future food security. Patron: David Shepherd CBE, Wildlife Patron: David Bellamy Environment Patron: Jonathan Porritt Patron for Dorset: Brian Jackman, Betty Beningfield & Dame Judi Dench Red Squirrel Patron: Dr. Craig Shuttleworth Trustees: Robin Page - Chairman, Ken Gifford - Treasurer, Chris Knights, Zac Goldsmith, Robin Maynard, Tilly Smith, Annabelle Evans, Nicholas Watts MBE

If I ruled Defra? And I don’t Spring Bird Surveys Judi’s visit Volunteers are go Festivals of Farming, Food & Wildlife Trust News

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Regulars

Chairman’s Thoughts 4 Director’s Report 12 Trust News - Book review 13 Fundraising 15 Volunteers 16 Education 17 Farm Diaries 18 Farm Diaries & Diary Dates 19 Merchandise 20

Joining the Trust

Please help us continue our work by becoming a Friend of the Trust If you are already a Friend, subscription renewals will be sent to you automatically. So please pass this on to anyone you think would like to join.

Title:__________ Surname: _______________________________________________________ Forename(s):___________________________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Postcode:______________________________________________________________________ Telephone:_____________________________________________________________________

Editor of The Lark: Sally Bain

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Photographs and drawings courtesy of Julian Eales, Caroline Aldersey, Geoff Harries, Annika Rees, Viv Geen, Sally Bain & Laure Tordjmann

Friend category (see box below)___________________________________________________

Front cover: Long-eared owl courtesy of Geoff Harries Published by: CB Creative Ltd The Countryside Restoration Trust, Bird’s Farm, Haslingfield Rd, Barton, Cambridgeshire CB23 7AG Tel: 01223 262999 E-mail: info@countrysiderestorationtrust.com www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com Registered charity no: 1142122 A company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No. 7320026. Registered office: as above. Paper sourced from FSC® compliant, responsibly managed, sustainable sources.

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MAKING A DONATION Whatever you can afford will help us continue to build on the work of the CRT. I enclose a donation of £__________ I attach a cheque payable to: The Countryside Restoration Trust for the total amount of £_________

You can also pay over the phone by credit card (01223 262999) or via the website www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com

Gift Aid Declaration Please treat all donations that I have made in the past 4 years and all future donations that I make from the date of this declaration as Gift Aid donations. I understand that I must pay an amount of Income Tax/and or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities that I donate to will reclaim on my donations for that year. I am aware that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. Signature:_______________________________________________________ Date:_________________ Please return to: The Countryside Restoration Trust, Haslingfield Rd, Barton, Cambridge CB23 7AG

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News

The Chairman’s Thoughts There is so much to write for this edition of The Lark; how will I get it all in? It is all important too, so the order in which items appear do not reflect their order of importance – they are all important. The properties of the CRT are really blooming these days. Visitors to Margaret Wood in Yorkshire had a tremendous Open Day this year and the bluebells were spectacular. We must get our Trust Diary planned for next year so that you all can make long-term plans. Sadly I could not go to Margaret Wood, which is one of my most favourite places. Instead I was at our Twyford Farm in West Sussex – again to see bluebells, but with Dame Judi Dench, who is Patron of our Gordon Beningfield Memorial Farm Appeal. Judi is such a pleasant person and good company – totally unaffected by her celebrity status. She visited Twyford after a tiring stint on the stage in London and so her effort was particularly appreciated. The bluebells at Twyford were simply breathtaking. Next year Lulu and I must visit both Margaret Wood and Twyford during bluebell time. Then we have an almost secret little bluebell wood in Buxted, West Sussex that was left to us by Mary Thorley, an exceptional lady, to ensure that it was never developed and that is how we intend to keep it – along with a small chunk of land in the middle of Buxted itself. The refurbishment of the farmhouse at Twyford has been completed – it looks wonderful. Lulu and I had the honour of being Liz and Bob’s first bed and breakfast customers. It was tremendous – and yes we did pay the proper going rate. We can thoroughly recommend it – comfort, wonderful views, good walks, wildlife, sheep and a five star full English breakfast. We enjoyed it so much I am sure we both snored – but how would we know, we slept so soundly. Well done Bob and Liz I hope CRT Friends support you – you deserve it – and we will be back again later in the summer. The Twyford Open Day will be held at the farm on September 13th – the satnav postcode is RH17 7DJ. The bed and breakfast telephone number is 01825 740726. We have already had two more spectacular Open Days, at Mayfields in Norfolk for the opening of the Education Centre. Well done Sarah and helpers, it too has already become a very special place. Good news too that after the heartbreak of last year we have had healthy red squirrel kittens born this year – we must keep our fingers crossed. For the Pierrepont Festival of Food and Farming we were almost overwhelmed. What an event; well over a thousand people attended and the whole place, including the beautiful Jersey cows, looked incredible. Each time ago I am simply so grateful to Jo Baker for her tremendous gift.

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The important news from Pierrepont is that some of the old, redundant buildings have been done up and people are moving in – we have a very go-ahead little brewery run by an extremely pleasant and enterprising young couple, Miles and Emily Stephens and we have a queue of eager craftsmen and women wanting to establish businesses in the other parts of the old dairy as they become available. The limiting factor, as always is money. We have to keep within our budget and so the improvements and refurbishment will only be completed when we can afford it. So far it is going well. One problem does arise from these successful events. How do we persuade visitors to these events to become “Friends”? We are giving it a lot of thought – have you got any ideas that we can try? Now Dorset. The search is on for a farm in Dorset where not only can we celebrate Dorset’s farming and wildlife, but where we can also celebrate the life and work of Gordon Beningfield, who was so important in the formation of the CRT. We have recently been to the Isles of Scilly with Gordon’s widow Betty – it served as a reminder of just how important both of them have been in the life of the CRT. The search for a farm is narrowing. We have visited some very special places and I hope to be able to make an announcement in the next edition of The Lark. We will hope to make it the subject of a Heritage Lottery Bid – so we will need to be patient and fund raising for it will be a real but worthwhile challenge. We have set our target for completion as 2018 – our Silver Jubilee Year – it is creeping up on us fast – faster than I would actually like. Then of course there has been an election since the last Lark and we will be trying to get Liz Truss the Defra Secretary of State to visit Lark Rise Farm More about the neglected politics of the countryside on the next page. I hope to see many of you at the Lark Rise Festival of Food and Farming on Sunday September 20th – also on August 2nd, the CRT’s chaplain, the Rev Peter Owen Jones will be doing a number of farm walks around Lark Rise as a celebration of his outstanding book “Pathways”. Oh – and in January Lulu and I are being urged to make our third Last Safari to Kenya. If there are enough “Friends” interested, then I expect we will do it. Robin Page – a cold June – 2015 Chairman


News

If I ruled Defra? And I don’t.

What would I do if I ruled Defra? Here are some ideas. Please note, what follows are my own views, they are not the views of the CRT or the CRT’s Trustees – they are my thoughts only, to stimulate thought and discussion. If any “Friends” have any additional ideas, or criticisms, then please let the Editor know and we could include them in the next issue of The Lark. And why am I writing this? Because it seems to me that the needs of the countryside were almost completely ignored during the general election, oh and I should also say that I am completely independent of any political party. So what needs to happen in the Countryside? What does Defra need to do? Here are twelve ideas. The first thing that Defra needs to do is change its name from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It needs reconnecting with the major parts of its function – farming (agriculture) and wildlife. So the new name would be The Department of Agriculture, Wildlife, Countryside and Rural Affairs – DAWCRA. The word “food” would go as “agriculture” is far more important – it is about how the land is managed to produce our food. It is concerned with our farms and fields which when added to wildlife, as a real part of land management, not an optional extra, makes it far more important than the bland Defra version of the countryside. Then Natural England, English Heritage and the Environment Agency would be integrated under DAWCRA for better co-ordination and accountability. In addition a Rural Council should be established to represent Britain’s most ignored cultural minority – traditional country people. This would not include the designer conservationists, hobby birdwatchers and assorted researchers that represent the usual pressure-group quangoes and charities that currently misrepresent the views of country people; the Council would be made up of people who work on land and water – working farmers, foresters, fishermen, gamekeepers, smallholders, artisan food producers etc, the people who get mud on their boots and blisters on their hands as they create and manage the countryside – they would become the people advising Government with their practical and non-scientific expertise. Agreeing with HRH the Prince of Wales, there should be an immediate war waged on ragwort. People should realise that some farmers do not have “flower meadows” they have traditional “hay meadows”. The point is simple, as ragwort is toxic, if the plant invades a “hay meadow” no hay can be used as it would eventually kill the animals eating it. Much of the ragwort problem has been caused by the Highways departments of local and national government, plus Network Rail, failing to control the ragwort in roadside verges and railway lines. They should be tasked with solving the problem

that they have helped to create. Nearly all GM crops should be stopped growing in British fields immediately. The only GM research allowed should focus on producing crops, cereals and others, that can fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere. Such crops would be of huge benefit to farmers from the developed and the developing world alike, and it would be good for the planet. All fracking should be stopped. Building on the Green Belt should cease instantly. Much of today’s building can already be seen as the slums of tomorrow – slums of the technological revolution soon to be compared with those of the industrial revolution. To make planning decisions more local and logical the Planning Inspectorate at Bristol should be immediately scrapped to make “localism” really local. All sales of council housing and charity owned affordable housing should be stopped immediately unless the discount on the selling price is retained for all time linked to the Halifax Index. This would prevent the same mistake from being made again when Mrs Thatcher effectively gave away Britain’s social/ affordable housing stock by not retaining their sales discount. All second homes need to be charged at three times the rate of council tax. All councillors and members of the planning inspectorate who approve development on once contaminated land to be held financially accountable if health problems occur to new residents. The nonsense talked using the words “sustainable”, “renewable” and “community” should be stopped immediately and planners should be sent to classes to learn the real meaning of the words they use. To help planners and politicians to understand the countryside The Lark must become required reading. The Milk Marketing Board should be instantly restored with the MMB dictating milk prices and no supermarket would be allowed to sell British food below the cost of production. In other words Fair Trade food would apply to British food producers, as well as those farming in exotic places overseas. Finally it should be recognised that the greatest environmental problem in Britain, and the greatest threat to the countryside is over-population. This is not a racial or religious problem but an environmental problem. England is full – see our roads, schools, hospitals, food security etc etc. Britain’s borders should be immediately closed to stop the EU’s freedom of movement policy – a policy that puts Europe back 1200 years to a time of wandering tribes and nomads. Robin Page

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Feature

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The traditional bird survey method that we have been using at Lark Rise Farm, and some of the other properties, is a very intensive survey technique designed to discover all the occupied territories on the property by making a dozen visits during the spring, mainly early in the morning, and covering all the field boundaries. Typically each visit for this method (the Common Bird Census, CBC) takes about 3 hours. This year, we have been trialling a simplified survey based on the British Trust for Ornithology’s Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) which only requires two visits and involves a pair of 1km long ‘transects’. Each visit takes about an hour and a half. Although it gives a much less accurate picture of the bird population, it is a standardised method which can be compared with over 3000 randomly sited 1 km squares that the BTO survey across the country. For this reason, a new organisation (Red List Revival) has adopted the BBS to ‘quantify success’ or give landowners a benchmark to compare their bird populations with national averages. This method is potentially a very useful way of comparing apples with oranges, in that sites with a different type of habitat are bound to have a different array of bird species present, but nonetheless one can look at the numbers of the species that are present and compare them with the best ‘random’ squares and thus develop a sort of ranking. The 2 visits means that more sites can be visited during the spring, but the observations are slightly less reliable. By way of example, two of the best days of surveying happened for me this year on Lark Rise Farm, one was a traditional CBC where I was lucky enough to log a Quail and a Wood Warbler - the first occurs once every few years at Lark Rise, the second is very rare indeed in Cambridgeshire and this was a first record for the farm. Neither have been seen or heard since, so this single observation out of the 12 visits for the CBC will not count as a territory. The volunteer team and myself have made half the visits for ‘98 land in Barton, 18 hours of surveying, and not encountered a single Long-eared Owl on any of these, but on Monday 27th April I conducted the first BBS survey here and found one! It hadn’t been there the day before, wasn’t there the day after or ever again, and there is no doubt it would have been a migrating bird heading north, possibly aiming to get to THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST NEWSLETTER

Photograph © Shutterstock

Photograph © Geoff Harries

Spring Bird Surveys

Scandinavia in due course. Nonetheless, it was recorded and when the analysis is done, this will put Lark Rise in the top 0.1% of sites for Long-eared Owl! This shows that there is more ‘statistical noise’ in the BBS and more reliable data in the CBC, so these variations need to be borne in mind when interpreting the figures. I have completed both BBS surveys at Mayfields farm in Norfolk now, and can look at some of the highlight species for this site, which is not big enough to accommodate a full 1km transect in any direction! Most notably, there are always plenty of Yellowhammers, with 12 counted on the early and 10 on the late visit. Because these numbers are quite similar, they can be considered to be quite reliable. The most recent published data for BBS (2013) shows that Yellowhammers were found on 37% of squares; an average of just 1.64 per square or 4.4 per occupied square - the latter meaning Mayfields had nearly three times as many Yellowhammers as the average for all sites suitable for the species (i.e. discounting square in mountain, urban and woodland habitats etc.). So we can confidently say we are above average for Yellowhammers at Mayfields. There will be a lot more comparisons to make before we can rate our CRT farms against national trends and hopefully, this analysis will be conducted once all the data is in and the organisation Red List Revival has run the comparisons with the national datasets. Highlights of BBS surveys at some of the other properties include a Hobby at Awnells, and a pair of Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers at Twyford. I have also conducted a survey on one of our associated farms, which revealed a large population of Song Thrushes; this farm has a mix of woodland, parkland with veteran trees and light grazing by rare breed cattle, and arable farming. Vince Lea


Trust News

Judi’s Visit course tenants Bob and Liz who provided a brilliant lunch, including excellent local sparkling wine. Don’t forget the Twyford bed and breakfast – 01825 740726. For me the whole occasion was quite poignant. Gordon loved woodland with carpets of bluebells, as can be seen from the cover of his book, Beningfield’s Woodlands published in 1993; in fact not only the cover but inside the book as well. Just paging through the book shows Gordon’s prodigious talent and makes our Dorset project so important. It reminds us of a very special man, his astonishing gift, and I hope it inspires us to fight for the British countryside that he loved and which is under such great pressure at the moment. Robin Page

Photograph © Andrew Crowley/ Daily Telegraph

The visit of our Gordon Beningfield Memorial Farm Patron, Dame Judi Dench, to Twyford Farm was a very special occasion. Firstly it was so good of Judi to give up her time after a tiring period performing in London. But as it turned out it was the perfect time to visit Twyford, the bluebells were absolutely stunning. Secondly I was able to tell her of the exciting progress we are making in our search for a farm, with a decision being made in the very near future. Then the really hard work will begin with an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and raising the money to complete a purchase. Thirdly and finally what a pleasure it was to sit down and enjoy lunch at Twyford with Judi and her partner David Mills – who supplied the red squirrels for Tresco – and of

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Feature

Volunteers are go...... at Turnastone Court Farm

Photographs © Viv Geen

It certainly has been a busy winter and spring at Turnastone farm. This is evident by the many spraints found on Court Farm. I have recruited a small but hard working group structures within the watercourse including the mink rafts. of local volunteers. The farm was entered into a higher level Instead of burning it, I wanted to use some of the large stewardship scheme in 2014 and a plan of action was drawn amount of brash and woodBallerina generated by the coppicing work. Club moss, Clavulinopsis fusiformis Snowy waxcap, Hygrocybe virginea waxcap , Hygrocybe calyptriformis up. The practical conservation work on the farm is funded So we built an otter holt on the Slough Brook. by the government, and is an agreement with the farmer who Hopefully, in time, the otters will use the holt to lie up is expected to carry out the prescribed wildlife conservation during the day. Once the vegetation has grown up around the work in return for set payments. holt it will be less conspicuous. The CRT has purchased some As the name suggests, higher level stewardship or HLS is wildlife surveillance cameras, and I will be monitoring the use the upper level and is only awarded to farms that meet the of the otter holt over the coming year. required wildlife criteria and support the necessary priority The archaeology present at Turnastone Court Farm is very habitats and species, and historical features. Competition to important and also forms part of the higher level stewardship enter the scheme is high. agreement. The stone structures around the farm form part The work started in November of 2014 with Rob Denny of the 16th Century Rowland Vaughan water meadow system. of the Monnow Rivers Association who helped with the They are the remains of sluices used to regulate the water coppicing work along the River Dore to benefit the water vole around the farm. Over time, trees have grown up through the population present. The River had become shaded by trees stonework and have to be removed. The volunteers and I have and scrub and we cleared some of the overhanging structures been coppicing the trees. The stumps are to be treated with a to allow light to reach the banks of the river and allow plants herbicide to kill the stools and prevent further damage to the to grow. Water voles are herbivores and eat bank side plants structure. An archaeologist has been drawing and recording such as Hemlock Water Dropwort, Fool’s Watercress, and the structures around the farm with a view to conserving and Dermoloma cuneifolium Golden chlorophana Meadow waxcap , Hygrocybe various reeds. Some overhanging branches were waxcap left to , Hygrocybe restoring some of the features for future generations to pratense enjoy. provide dappled shade for the brown trout and salmon, and Crayfish surveys are to be carried out on the Turnastone provide fishing perches for the kingfishers regularly seen streams in July this year to inform the restoration work. The during the work. Some patches of bramble were removed native White-clawed crayfish has been recorded in the mill to open up the river corridor, but some patches were left to pond, and the crevices and holes in between the old stonework provide valuable nesting sites for birds, and a food source for would provide ideal habitat for this priority species. small mammals and invertebrates. It is all about reaching a The main channel of the Rowland Vaughan water meadow balance, and providing habitat for a priority species like the system is the Trench Royal. This structure runs for three miles water vole without compromising other species. The river across Turnastone Court Farm and adjacent farms. Trees have bank is eroded in places and where possible some of the grown up in the channel over the years and these needed to willows were laid instead of coppiced to protect the banks. be coppiced to open up the channel. Several windows in the Some of the alders along the River Dore are displaying signs hedge along the edge of the Trench Royal and adjacent to the of disease: Phytopthora; a fungal disease that can kill the tree. public footpath were created to allow the feature to be viewed. This is a serious problem because if these trees are lost then so is the stability of the river bank. Coppicing will encourage new growth and prolong the life of the tree.

Orchard Tooth Fungus

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Photographs © Viv Geen

Otters are very active in this river catchment, and on the Otter holt being built on the Slough Brook


mixed woodland with great potential. A wide pathway from the entrance of the Old Quarry to the rear has been cleared to allow access into the site. Planting of hazel and English oak has been carried out along the path and around what I call the grassy knoll. There is some natural regeneration of hazel and ash in the woodland and these plants were staked and had rabbit guards placed around them. There is a lovely corridor of bramble through the wood, and some mature hazel coppice along one boundary; this is wonderful habitat for dormice.

Other volunteer work (not HLS) One of the barn owl boxes has been installed at Turnastone by members of the Golden Valley Wildlife Group. So far I have not seen any evidence of occupation underneath the box, and I am unable to check the box without a Schedule one licence. Later in the year the Golden Valley Wildlife Group are to check the box. Barn owls have been recorded in the area in recent months, so fingers crossed! Dippers have been recorded on the River Dore in previous years, although I have not recorded them until 2015. The dipper nested on the old bridge at Vowchurch; unfortunately the nest either fell off or was knocked off and the chicks lost. With the volunteers I have erected three woodcrete dipper boxes on bridges around the farm. There has been no sign of the Dippers since the loss of their nest, but I will continue to monitor the boxes.

Photographs Š Viv Geen

Two hedgerows were coppiced on the farm during this time. Both hedges had been laid and coppiced in previous years but had become mature and gappy. Stock had been allowed to feed and shelter at the base of the hedge causing compaction of the soil and loss of ground flora. Coppicing involves cutting the shrubby hedgerow plants close to the ground with the cuts sloping away from the centre of the coppice stool to prevent water rotting the wood. The trees will regenerate and are already showing signs of life with new shoots being produced. The hedge will eventually form a dense bushy corridor; ideal for nesting birds and dormice. Both hedges were fenced to prevent the stock from eating the new shoots of the coppice. This will also allow regeneration of the ground flora with time. It was not possible to coppice the mature trees along the hedgerow, and some small trees, including our native ash, were not coppiced so that they form the mature landscape trees of the future. Only a section of the hedgerows was coppiced at this time and the remainder of the hedge will be managed in the future once the coppice hedge has regenerated. One of the hedgerows was planted with native species including hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, elder, hazel, and field maple. Unfortunately ash trees cannot be purchased at the moment because of Ash die-back or Chalara; a disease affecting this species. I have been growing some ash saplings from a Herefordshire source at home and so donated these to the hedge planting. I intend to set up small tree nurseries for both farms so that we can collect seeds from each site and propagate trees from a known site of local provenance.

Volunteers clearing from coppiced hedge along Shegear Brook Coppicing and planting work was also carried out in the Ash Plantation at Turnastone in accordance with the woodland plan for the site. The wood consists mainly of very thin, spindly ash trees seeking out the light. A corridor was coppiced diagonally across the wood from the new gateway to an existing entrance in the far corner. This will open up the ground to allow the flora present to grow, and regenerate the elder, hazel and hawthorn shrubs that are struggling to survive. Many ancient woodland indicators; cowslip, bluebell, wood avens, and dog’s mercury occur in the wood in low numbers. Management of the nettles that swamp these valuable plants will be required. Thinning of some of the large ash trees will take place in future years. The remnant hazel hedgerow along the bottom of the wood was also coppiced and planting of hazel and hawthorn saplings was carried out to regenerate this corridor. Planting other species of tree will increase the biodiversity of the wood. Piles of wood and brash were left around the wood to provide habitat for invertebrates and small mammals. A small hazel copse was planted in one corner of the wood. This will provide excellent habitat for dormice. I am to install dormouse boxes in the wood to see if they move into this restored habitat. Dormouse tubes placed around the edge of the wood in 2013 Two toned wood tuft and 2014 produced a negative result. Work has also been carried out in the Old Quarry site; a lovely

Female Dipper Dormouse boxes have been put up along the hedgerow connecting Chanstone Wood with Turnastone Court Farm, and along the woodland edge of Chanstone Wood. This has been carried out with the approval of the owner of Chanstone Wood. The hedgerow has been surveyed using dormouse tubes in 2013 and 2014 with positive results. The dormouse boxes are a more standardised method of monitoring dormouse populations, and hopefully the dormice will breed in the boxes. As you can see it has been a busy year so far, but the work does not stop and would be made easier with more willing volunteers, and funding to purchase equipment and provide training for the volunteers. Finally, I would like to thank the hard work of the volunteers Jamie Allen, Lisa Bloor, Julie Barnard, Bob Barnard, and Nick Longman. Also my thanks go to members of the Golden Valley Wildlife Group for all their help, and Dr Stephanie Tyler, Felicity Burge, and Robert Denny for all their help and advice. Viv Geen

Meadow puffball

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CRT Festivals

Festivals of Farming, Food & Wildlife

Photographs © Julian Eales

It’s been a busy few months with our Festivals of Farming, Food and Wildlife (FFFW). The events were held across various CRT locations with the aim of promoting a better understanding of the link between farming, wildlife and the food on our plate. The first FFFW took place at Awnells Farm, Much Marcle, Ledbury on the 2nd May. Attractions included local food and craft stalls, children’s activities, refreshments, guided farm walks, rare breed animals, talks and demonstrations. Considering it was a wet, windy and cold day, it still attracted around 300 visitors.

Photographs © Julian Eales

The second FFFW took place at Mayfields Farm, Foulsham in Norfolk on 16th May. Visitors of all ages enjoyed sheep dog and Suffolk Punch demos, sheep racing and local food and craft stalls. A highlight of the day was the purpose built specialist Education Centre (funded through donations) being officially opened by BBC Look East Susie Fowler-Watt.

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Photograph © Julian Eales

A stunning carpet of native bluebells greeted visitors at the second Bluebell Festival at Margaret Woods, Upper Denby on the 9th May. It attracted around 300 visitors who enjoyed live music and a BBQ/bar provided by the George Inn, Upper Denby. There were stallholders from across West Yorkshire selling a wide range of local produce. Sally Bain

Photographs © Julian Eales

Record numbers flocked to the Festival of Farming, Food and Wildlife at Pierrepont Farm, Frensham, Surrey on Sunday 7th June which was run in conjunction with Open Farm Sunday. We anticipated around 400 visitors... there were actually about 1500! the biggest number of visitors we have ever had at one of our events. The day was packed with various activities such as tractor and trailer rides, dairy tours; visitors were able to watch pedigree Jersey cows milking themselves in the robotic milking parlour.

Future CRT Events: Sunday 2nd Aug - Revd Pete Owen Jones ‘Pathways’ book launch - Lark Rise Farm Sunday 16 August - Green Farm - Open Day Sunday 13 September - Twyford Farm - Open Day Sunday 20 September Festival of Farming, Food & Wildlife followed by Harvest Festival Church Service - Lark Rise Farm & St Peter’s Church, Barton More information about our events: www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com

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Director’s Report Spring has arrived, the birds are singing and the swallows are busy building their nests from the mud puddle outside the office Another sign of spring is when the CRT Exhibition Trailer hits the road and can be seen covering many miles of tarmac up and down the country. This year we have decided to focus more on our own events and less on the big Country Shows and Fairs which are expensive to attend. We have been greatly encouraged by the success of our Festival of Farming, Food & Wildlife at Lark Rise in recent years and decided to recreate the format at some of the other farms. Our first ever FFFW at Awnells took place on Saturday May 2nd with many stallholders selling their wares. It was a cold miserable wet day but it was good to see around 300 people attending. In addition to visiting the stalls they were able to look over David Powell’s splendid herd of Rare Breed Hereford Cattle and enjoy a guided walk through the ancient orchard learning more about the wildlife. The children attending were also able to enjoy a range activities put on by Hazel Andrew our Education Officer at Awnells. The following weekend saw our second Bluebell Festival at Margaret Wood. In the earlier years it was promoted as an Open Day but after initial interest numbers had begun to dwindle. With it’s re-branding there has been renewed interest and this year around 300 people attended. We had lots of stallholders, live music from a local Folk Group and a BBQ provided by the local pub. The highlight of the event however was the spectacular carpet of bluebells in the woods, which everyone was able to enjoy on guided walks. Next up was our second Festival of Farming, Food & Wildlife at Mayfields. Last year at the inaugurate one on a bitterly cold damp day we had around 300 visitors, but this time round with warmer weather and better advertising we were privileged to entertain around 500 people. As part of the Festival we had the official opening of our new Education Centre. This was performed by Susie Fowler-Watt from BBC Look East. We now have a purpose built educational resource which we hope will be used to good effect by local, schools and groups. By the time you read this article we will have held our first FFFW at Pierrepont which attracted around 1500 vistors, the most we have ever had! We still have our biggest event the FFFW at Lark Rise to look forward to in September along with Open Days at Green Farm, Twyford. Turnastone Open Day was held at the end of June. The dates of all these events can be found on page 11.

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THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST NEWSLETTER

Our Education programme at Lark Rise and Pierrepont goes from strength to strength with various school visits arranged for the second half of this term. With the new facilities at Mayfields we are in the process of recruiting a parttime employed Education Officer and we are also looking to fill the vacancy for an Education Officer at Awnells. Kenny our Education Officer at Lark Rise has also been busy working with a local school teaching the children about the countryside and food sources. The School PTA have funded the purchase of some raised beds and the children are growing their own vegetables with the help of Kenny and some of the teachers. This work is very important as these children and their parents are future potential members of the Trust. It is worrying how disconnected from the countryside today’s families have become, and how ignorant some children through no fault of their own, are of their food sources. Our plans for restoring the redundant farm buildings at Pierrepont is generating a lot of interest and the 2 units next to the micro brewery are about to be taken on by a chair maker and a florist. This is only the first stage of what is a major project which will provide an income for the Trust and offset some of the costs of restoring these buildings. We are currently in discussions with a Planning Consultant with a view to submitting planning applications for the other buildings. We are also still awaiting planning permission for the conversion of the barn at Turnastone into holiday lets. Thank you once again for your generosity the Gordon Beningfield appeal now stands at £217,830 and you have raised the £13,552 for the Mayfield’s Education Officer Appeal. We will now advertise for an Education Officer and hope to have the new person in post in time for the new school term in September. Finally, I end on a sad note having to say goodbye to our Fundraising Manager Hayley Newton., who leaves us at the end of June. In the short time she has been with us she has certainly raised the bar in our fundraising and she will be greatly missed. Hayley has been a delight to work with and I wish her well for the future. Thank you once again for your continued support and I hope to see some of you at one of our events near you. Martin Carter


Trust News

Book Review

Rivers by Nigel Holmes and Paul Raven British Wildlife Publishing, 2014. Hardback 432 pages ÂŁ35.00 ISBN 978 0 95649 025 4 This book came out in 2014 and I got my copy and read it within a few weeks of publication; it fills a gap that needed filling. It brings together a vast array of information about British rivers, dealing with everything from the chalk streams of Hampshire to the mountain torrents above Loch Lomond. The book focuses on wildlife, habitats, physical and chemical processes and functions of rivers, but does so in an easy to understand style, with plenty of diagrams and photographs (some of which are sensational) to illustrate the work, a limited use of technical jargon and a good explanation of the terms that really do need to be used. There are also lots of interesting little snippets; for example, table 11.1 on p382 gives a selection of examples of misdemeanours affecting a stream local to us in Cambridgeshire, where in 1492 the butcher was fined for allowing his dunghill to drain into the watercourse. Water pollution is not a new thing! It starts with a logical progression from the ice age beginnings of river systems (when the Thames was a tributary of the Rhine) to the modern era of alien introductions, sewage works, concrete banks and mechanical diggers. Perhaps surprisingly, there is a lot of optimism about the future of our rivers, and the authors point out that the worst times are behind us, with the Industrial Revolution responsible for the worst treatment our rivers have seen in terms of pollution and degradation. You can tell throughout that the authors really do know about the rivers they are writing about, and the life that depends on them. Each of the 10,000 British rivers (a figure taken from the book) is different, according to the geology and landscape it flows through, the climatic conditions it occurs in and the history of human influence that it has been subjected to, but the book shows how different features can be used to

Can you help us? Over the course of the year we send out various press releases. Unfortunately we dont always get to hear if they are printed, so it is therefore difficult to gauge how successful we are with these. It is too expensive to hire a Press Cutting Agency so please can you help us? If you see CRT in any publication, please can you send us a copy...Thank you

classify rivers and stretches of river. Once you have classified your river you can compare it with others in the same class and see if it is functioning in a healthy state or has been degraded in some way or other. Once you have identified the problems, you can set about fixing them. Rivers gives advice and examples of restoration work and the last chapter is very optimistic about the future. Sadly, Nigel Holmes died in October 2014, two months after this book was published. His plans for restoring a meander on the Bourn Brook came into being early this year and the plans worked; the newly reinstated meander is dedicated to his memory. Rivers will go a long way to making his vast experience and knowledge available to the generations of river restorers who are surely needed to follow in his footsteps. Vince Lea

Do you Tweet? or are you a fan of Facbook? Find us on Twitter by searching for @CRTBarton or search for Countryside Restoration Trust on Facebook to get leastest news and updates

THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST NEWSLETTER

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Trust News

Meet the team - office based staff at CRT HQ

Left to right: Caroline Aldersey - Office Administrator, Kenny MacKay - Conservation & Education Advisor, Jane Downey - Finance Manager, Martin Carter - Director and Sally Bain - Marketing & Communications Manager The small team above are involved in the day to day running of the CRT. Field based staff to follow in the next issue.

Legacies

You will make sure those you love are cared for in your Will. If you also love the countryside and wildlife, a legacy to the Countryside Restoration Trust is a way of ensuring it will be cared for too. The Countryside Restoration Trust is the UK’s leading charity promoting wildlifefriendly farming and campaigning for a living, working countryside. Legacies have made a huge difference to our work, helping us acquire and manage land, promote wildlife-friendly, environmentally sensitive food production, develop conservation initiatives and ensure our rural heritage is kept vibrant for future generations. How you could help create a living, working countryside: £100 could fund the conservation of a section of water course running through farmland for one year in order to protect a vital habitat for species such as otters and water voles. £250 could enable us to bring a school group onto our farms to learn about nature, the countryside and farming.

Would you like to know the birds will still be flying after you have gone?

£500 could enable us to carry out a season of regular surveys on one of our farms to make sure particularly important species are thriving. £1,000 could pay for the equipment needed by one of our volunteer teams to carry out vital conservation work on the land. For more information and a free legacy information pack please contact 01223 262 999 or www.CountrysideRestorationTrust.com

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Fundraising

Thank You

I always seem to start my Lark Article with a thank you. This time it is not from an appeal or event, but it is from me. Thank you all for the support and help you have given me since I started as Fundraising Manager at the CRT 18 months ago. The CRT would not be where it is today with our friends and volunteers and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you and let you know we appreciate it and you. I have decided to bring my time working for the CRT to an end. I have had an absolutely amazing time and have made some memories which will stay with me forever; I will probably never get the chance to take a reindeer on a lead again! I have loved talking to all our CRT friends, either on the phone or in person. Keep up the good work everyone.

CRT awarded Biffa Award The Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) is currently celebrating having received a grant of £15,960 from Biffa Award to restore an area of wet woodlands in Norfolk.

At the CRT’s Mayfields Farm, in Themelthorpe, Norfolk, we are very privileged to have an area of wet woodland on a former clay pit site. The rare habitat has attracted a variety of unusual plants and wildlife which we want to conserve, preserve and share with the local community. The grant from Biffa Award will enable our staff and volunteers to tidy the area and put in a wooden pathway with information signs to make the area more enjoyable for visitors. We hope to have the area prepared and ready for the public in the autumn 2015.

Education Appeal

I must start my fundraising section with an apology. There was a typing error in the Education Appeal letter which was sent at the end of April. You may have realised the letter was expressing our need for an Education Officer at Mayfields Farm in Norfolk, but the small print on the back of the form said your donation will be used for the Dorset Appeal. If you have made a donation you now have the option to keep it for the Education Officer or Dorset, please contact the office on 01223 262999 to let us know your choice. The good news is that the brand new Education Centre at Mayfield’s Farm has now been officially opened by BBC’s Susie Fowler-Watt and is ready for use. The appeal has already raised enough money to fund an Education Officer for a year so we will soon be starting the recruitment process ready for someone to start in September. Our wonderful volunteer Jen will continue the education programme in Norfolk this summer and work alongside the Education Officer when they start.

Elaine walks 150 miles for the Gordon Beningfield Dorset Appeal

Thank You

Special thanks must go to the following Charitable Trusts who have supported our work recently: • • • • •

Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust Roger Vere Foundation The Alan Cadbury Trust The Hilary Awdry Charitable Trust The Nichol-Young Foundation

Shopping List

CRT Supporter, Elaine Spencer-White has just completed walking the 150 miles from Oxford to Tower Bridge along the Thames Path National Trail in aid of the Gordon Beningfield Appeal, “This was not a race, more of an endurance test for an artificial knee fitted less than a year ago” says semi-retired Elaine.

• Here are a few smaller items that currently need funding:

Elaine reached Tower Bridge at 2pm on Friday 24 April 2015 right on schedule having left Oxford at 2pm on Monday 13 April. She walked about 12 mile a day over 12 days with not a drop of rain or a single blister! She has done amazingly well and raised over £1,000.

• Swift Call CD Player for Pierrepoint £150

Legacies

If you would like to fundraise for the Gordon Beningfield Appeal please contact info@countrysiderestorationtrust.com.

• Portable sink at Pierrepont (for use near the calves) £500 • Robinsons Moth Trap for Mayfields £600 • Pond Dipping Equipment for Mayfields £100 • Educational supplies for Awnells £250 • Projector for Lark Rise £50 • Information Signs for Twyford Farm £1,500 • Tree Pruners for Margaret Wood £125 THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST NEWSLETTER

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Volunteers

Volunteers Across CRT Properties The new volunteer group at Twyford have been busy with clearing Rhododendron and removing tree guards. Vince has also been down there doing bird surveys and showing some of the volunteers down there how to conduct a bird survey. On a recent survey Vince recorded a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, which is the rarest of Woodpeckers we have in the UK. Work at Mayfields continues to trundle along, we had a volunteer day there back in April where I met with members of a local conservation volunteer group, there was around 20 of us and we took guards of the hedge plants, replaced broken ones on another part of hedge not protected by fence, it was great having a good number of people there as we actually able to get some work done. We hope to have the same group of volunteers back to clear some trees and shrubs from the route of the new boardwalk planned for the clay pits in the small woodland adjoining Mayfields. The boardwalk is really there to control the movements of visitors in the wood, with the site being so small we would like the woodland floor to get a break from footfall to allow Flora and Fauna to thrive. Please come and join us if you can or if you want to get involved at any of the CRT properties please get in touch with me. Kenny Mackay

Photographs Š Viv Geen

Since the last edition of the Lark we have had a visit from a representative of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (DofE), Vince and I took her on a tour of the farm here at Lark Rise to show her some of the work the DofE students had done whist gaining their award. I am now in the process of doing the paper work so that the CRT can become an Approved Activity Provider (AAP). This will allow us to give opportunities to school children to volunteer in the countryside and learn about farming, wildlife and nature. Hopefully this might encourage some younger people that are unsure about their career choices to choose a career in agriculture or conservation. The Rustics here at Lark Rise continue to beaver away with the tasks that we give to them, we have a lovely piece of laid hedge now down at the corner of Great Catherines. Given some time to recover, this will become a good spot for wildlife to hide from predators and hopefully do some nesting. Hedges are not just good for birds but are essential habitat for small mammals both in terms of cover but also providing food in the forms of invertebrates and fruit. This is of course is great news to the Barn owls on the farm and they will be hoping that the meadow at the top of Warner’s Corner is full of small mammals come dawn and dusk. Over the summer months the Rustics will be removing Himalayan Balsam from the Bourn Brook amongst other things.

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We have just had St Matthews Primary School, Cambridge to visit the farm, over two days we had ninty children visit the farm. Their topic at school was growing food so we tailored the activities to embrace that whilst still having a wildlife/ nature slant to it. The children got involved in activities such as growing beans, wheat grinding and dough rolling, a nature ramble and finally a tractor and trailer ride that took in some of the crops that farmer Tim Scott is growing here at Lark Rise. While planting the beans the children impressed me with their knowledge of what a seed needs to grow and even knew that a seed needs to be able to germinate before it can grow. Whilst doing the activity we talked about soil and what it is made from and the important role of worms. Before we started the wheat grinding and dough rolling we had a discussion about what we all had for breakfast and what it is made from, a lot of the children knew what Coco Pops were but didn’t know what they were made of until I showed them a box of Rice Krispies. We talked about wholegrains and the difference between white and brown bread amongst other things. Next we went on a tractor and trailer ride and went round the crops of Lark Rise, we found some wheat, barley and oats, and the children can now identify all three and know some of the food products that come from these. We also showed the beetle banks that the CRT has put in to not only break up a large field into two but it also provides habitat for invertebrates which have a double bonus in that they come and feast on the aphids and other pests that are eating the crops, but they also become a food source for farmland birds and small mammals. After the tractor and trailer ride we went on a nature ramble and took in the sights of the Bourn Brook, where we discussed otters, kingfishers, water Voles and stickleback. From there we went to see the Badger set, all the while keeping an eye out for butterflies and other pollinators. When getting back onto the bus a young boy by the name of Christopher said that “it was the best day I’ve ever had!”

Elsewhere on the education front I am continuing to work with Hatton Park Primary School, Longstanton on their raised beds and other outdoor areas. Since the last edition of the Lark we have built and filled the raised beds made by Cambridge Wood Works, the filling came from Madingley Mulch and was a mixture of topsoil and soil conditioner on a bed of bark that I hope will retain some of the moisture in the beds. We have also put up a sun canopy in a small piece of woodland which is part of the school grounds, there is a circle of tree roundels where the children can read and have discussions but it needed a Sun canopy. It has been up since the beginning of May and I haven’t heard that it has come down as of yet, maybe they are just too polite to tell me. We had a visit from Kings College School, Cambridge in June and we continue to have the local Beaver and Cub groups coming regularly. If you know a school that might like to visit one of our properties please get in touch with us and we will see which property is closest to you. Kenny MacKay

Photographs © Sally Bain

Lark Rise, Cambridgeshire

Education

A big thank you has to go out to Pierrepont’s team of volunteers who very helpfully built a lovely log circle just off the footpath in the woodland. This will be a perfect woodland base for groups when running activities such as minibeast hunting, and will definitely be used during our 3 school visits booked in for June and July. The log circle is quickly becoming a lovely ‘outdoor classroom’, with things of interest continuously being added. I would like to thank the Wolf Pack 5th Farnham (Bourne) Scouts for kindly building a brilliant bug hotel next to the log circle. We even managed to find our first tiny guests to check into the hotel. Although there was some disagreement on how much we thought we should charge the little creatures for their stay! Working with youth groups on small projects like this is a great way to get young people involved. I am also currently liaising with the 1st Wrecclesham Guides, who are planning to visit Pierrepont to plant a bee and butterfly friendly garden in the green space next to the pond, as well as do a survey of our pond creatures. The area next to the pond has been where groups have had their lunch in the past. A small garden here will not only be good for wildlife but will brighten up the area and can be educational too. Annika Rees

Photographs © Annika Rees

Education At Pierrepont Farm

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Farm Diaries Margaret Wood - Upper Denby

Spring is finally nearly here on the Pennines, it always seems to take a long time to arrive but then suddenly it is here. Much like the Bluebells which keep us in suspense as to whether they will be a good show on Bluebell Festival day, or over, or not quite out. Fortunately although there were only a few showing a fortnight before ,on the day they were at their very best – a beautiful sight despite the lack of sunshine. Now we face the rapid appearance of the Bracken which shoots up within a couple of weeks to bury the saplings which we planted earlier in the year though our older plantings are now keeping their heads above the invasion. I don’t know if it is really Climate change but this year we have had more wet work days than in all the previous years. Therefore we haven’t managed to get all the jobs done particularly the dry stone walling which is really not a nice job in the cold rain.

Mayfields Farm, Norfolk The main event here at Mayfields has been the Festival of Food, Farming and Wildlife. This year it was particularly memorable because we incorporated the official opening of our new education centre. I am sure I am not alone when I say it was a wonderful event, enjoyed by the many people who attended and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those whose hard work and dedication contributed to the success of the event.

Excitingly news.....we have a litter of Red Squirrel kittens here at Mayfields which is great news for these native endangered species. Not such good news on our bees. Two of our three colonies did not survive the winter, which was very disappointing. However, the remaining colony is very strong and we were able to split it, and a volunteer and mentor gave us a further colony, so now we are up to three hives. I am a passionate believer in the importance of pollinators to the environment and it is well known that the honey bee is struggling, populations being badly hit by the use of certain pesticides in agricultural production. So, I am delighted that we again have 3 hives, but keeping bees, as with all things is not without expense. My team of volunteer/mentor beekeepers (Jane and Phil) and I are about to sit down and put together our budget for the coming year, in order to ensure that our colonies remain in good health. Whilst on the subject of expense this spring we have had to repair some damage to the pastures which have been incurred over a very wet Winter. Livestock must be fed. This involves the use of some machinery. Machinery damages the wet, heavy clay ground. This has proved costly to put right, but I am pleased that much of the reseeding has included a wild flower mix. Without doubt, the use of the Suffolk Punch horse to feed sheep during the winter results in almost no damage to the ground. Looking towards next winter, we now have a beautifully rebuilt Tumbrel, with drop sides to aid feeding fodder beet. Duke (the horse) is now 5 years old and although progressing well with his training is quite a handful for me on my own. He is at that teenage stage where he requires rather more time and skill than I have, so this afternoon he has been moved to a nearby farm, worked almost entirely with horses. Here, he will be paired up with an older, more experienced horse and my hope is that by the time he returns in the late Autumn, he will have matured a little.

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Our little experimental orchard seems to have survived the weather and even though five of the trees are from a low price supermarket a number have good quantities of blossom. Hopefully the weather and winds aren’t too much for them and when established we will be able to pick fruit. As mentioned previously we had a Bluebell Festival which, thanks to the hard work of quite a few people (staff and volunteers) was a successful day with over 250 visitors who enjoyed the stalls, bar, barbeque, music and of course the bluebells. We hope to build on this in future years and hopefully pick the right week for the bluebells. There is now a CL site of the Caravan Club on land’ not owned by the Trust’ but adjacent to the property so if you feel like a weekend with your caravan to fit in with our work programme we could show you around the woods. If visiting at any other time we will try and ensure that someone is free to show you around. John Dunn Mayfields working sheepdogs were once again present at the Suffolk Show. Floss and Arwen took part in the Shepherds at Work competition, and big, handsome Kelpie (an Australian sheepdog) Amos, won the Any Other Herding class in the Working Sheepdogs competition. We have the first of our school visits this week, which Jen and I are looking forward to. Let’s hope for many beautiful Summer days to come. Sarah Jenkins

Turnastone Court Farm, Herefordshire

Lambing at Turnastone was a busy one and thankfully a successful one. We had our first set of Welsh Mule quintuplets born to a Beulah ewe and all survived. Looking back we must have been mad as our first lamb was born on 20th January and the last came along on 24th April! We were meant to have a month break in March but this didn’t quite work out. We only had about 2 weeks where no lambs were born. We have just started taking our first lot lambs to market, however, the price of lamb has dropped compared to last year which is very disappointing. The market has been flooded with New Zealand lamb and this is what is keeping the price of our lamb down plus the euro is weak against the pound so exports are down. We do hope it picks up. Our sheep dog, Bess, had her first litter of pups in February. She had ten! One died early on, we decided to keep two so were faced with having to find homes for seven. At the moment we have two left for sale. We have shut up some of our fields for hay. Our meadow field is full of Birds Foot Trefoil which is lovely to see. Back in April we spotted a pair of Lapwings on the farm and they were around for several weeks. We also saw a pair of Curlews but they were only here briefly. Our volunteers have been hard at work. The have planted whips along part of the hedgerow we are trying to restore and they have cleared small areas of scrub in our woodlands and planted trees. We are now preparing for another busy time of the year, shearing! Once we have brought all the sheep close to the farm ready to shear we will inject all the lambs for various diseases and bolus them. Bolusing involves putting a small capsule down the throat, it is swallowed and sits in the stomach. The bolus contains cobalt which is required by the lamb to grow and develop. The land in this part of the country is deficient in cobalt and lack of cobalt in the diet can have serious implications, not only for the lamb but also on our finances. Gareth & Madeleine Boaz


Farm Diaries Twyford Farm, West Sussex

Talking about the woods this year has been a particularly good year for Blue Bells and wild flowers ,in early May we were fortunate to have the company of Dame Judi Dench with her partner David Mills along with Robin and Lulu ,She is a lovely lady and we felt privileged to meet her the end result being a lovely photo on the front page of the daily telegraph with another of her and our old dog Bruce on Robins diary page, This resulted in an increase in enquiries for the Bed and breakfast with the first couple installed in their room 36hrs after publication Moving on the bookings on the b&b are starting to come in and hopefully continue to increase as time goes on we have actually been full on 2 occasions which is pleasing we are now getting people who want to take a holiday in a beautiful part of the country so this is good for all concerned Liz has been working hard as always getting the garden in order we seem to have planted a huge number of perennials’ which seem to be establishing themselves and providing some colour already , so it should be maintenance in the future ,although apparently buying plants is her favourite pastime Bob Felton & Liz Wallis

Lark Rise Farm, Cambridgeshire

impact of the dry weather was yellow nutrient starved crops. The fertiliser applied requires moisture to activate it and then wash it down to the crop roots. For weeks and weeks the Weather Forecasters promised us substantial amounts of rain but it all missed us. Fortunately we have now had the rain and the crops have changed colour from a sick yellow to a very healthy dark green. Having just written about all of this doom and gloom, most of our crops now look quite good (except the Canary Grass), which just illustrates how amazing nature is, with its ability to compensate to suit climatic conditions. The two blocks of Larkrise Farm are about 20 and 15 years into our ownership and if I say so myself look really good with mature hedges, floralistically rich grass margins and have wildlife in abundance and are a credit to everybody who has contributed over the years. The birding highlight since the last article was a Long-Eared Owl which attracted a host of twitchers for one day April. Tim Scott

The last couple of months have been fairly hectic at Twyford we have now finished lambing with the cross bred ewes managing to produce 170% and it is noticeable that the welsh mules and welsh type ewes coping much better with the forest ground. We have decided the pure charollais ewes will be lambed earlier next year so they are being weaned now and the rams will be put back with them in early august so we will lamb just after Christmas this will mean feeding the ewes a bit more but hopefully we can get more growth into the rams off grass .on the cattle front we have sold the strong stores quite well and turned the calves on grass ,The grass was a bit slow growing in spring but now in late May we have an abundance. we are now embarking on our woodland Management Plan with the help of the ancient woodland condition assessment which was completed last winter this is all proving very interesting for all concerned , So hopefully this will secure a plentiful supply of logs for the log burner which is now up and running we also aim to provide fencing materials and other timber while at the same time improving the wild life habitat in the woods,

When I was a little boy people my age (well possibly much younger than me) would say how quickly the years fly by as you get older, well here we are at the beginning of June and yet another harvest is just 6 weeks away. The spring has been cold windy and dry which is a far from ideal combination. Crops with small seeds have struggled to germinate through lack of contact with moisture, this being particularly the case with the new crop to us, namely Canary Seed. Until 2 weeks ago only about 30% of the crop which is sown on fields at both sites (98 Land and Westfield Farm) had germinated and emerged. The recent rain triggered germination and now it’s all present, but sadly 2 months later than intended or ideal. At least the bare soil has been a good place to watch Skylarks, Hares and Grey Partridge. The bare soil in late spring did lure a displaying male Lapwing in for a while, but sadly much as he tried he could not charm a mate to join him. A second

Diary Dates

LARK RISE FARM, Barton, Cambridgeshire

MARGARET WOOD, Upper Denby, West Yorkshire

Volunteer Conservation Days – Usually held on the second Saturday of every month. Please call the office on 01223 262999 for more information.

Volunteer Conservation Days – please contact Phil Opie on 07762 642814 or jpo.92@live.co.uk for more information.

PIERREPONT FARM, Frensham, Surrey Volunteer Monitoring Group – Please call Bill Young on 01243 811563 or email bill@parmelia.me.uk for more information. Volunteer Conservation Days – Held every 2 weeks. For more information, contact Brian Lavers on 01276 471870 or brian.lavers@ btopenworld.com or visit www.crtinsurrey.org.uk

GREEN FARM, Churt, Surrey Volunteer Work Days – please contact Kenny MacKay on 01223 262999

TURNASTONE COURT FARM, Vowchurch, Herefordshire Volunteer Conservation Days – please contact the CRT office on 01223 262999 for more information.

AWNELLS FARM, Much Marcle, Herefordshire Volunteer Conservation Days – please contact Donald Davis on 01989 565097 for more information.

MAYFIELDS, Themelthorpe, Norfolk Please call Sarah Jenkins on 01362 683337 or visit www.mayfieldsfarm.co.uk for more information. THE COUNTRYSIDE RESTORATION TRUST NEWSLETTER

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Merchandise Slimline wall calendar

CRT Baseball Cap

with 12 stunning images to brighten your wall and plenty of space for notes.

Available in Navy only & now featuring an embroidered logo. £12.50 including p/p

(150mm x 420mm)

£7.00 including p/p

CRT Key Ring

Fun Stickers

Etched metal key ring, comes in its own gift box.

12 cartoon farm animal stickers. £1.00 including p/p

Reduced price £3.50 including p/p

CRT Pen

Hardback Notebooks

£4.00 including p/p

£4.00 including p/p

Triple function pen (pen, LED light & stylus), comes in its own gift box.

Cover designs all differ so we regret that no specific design can be chosen

CRT 2015 Christmas Cards 5 Cards each of 2 designs, wording inside reads “With best wishes for Christmas & the New Year

A5 Butterfly & Bug Activity Book

Includes stickers, dot-to-dot, puzzles, word seareches & colouring pages

£6.00 including p/p

£1.75 including p/p

Order early to avoid disappointment!

Merchandise Order Form

Item

Quantity

Name:_____________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Postcode:__________________________ Telephone:______________ Email:_____________________________________________________ I enclose a cheque for £______________________________________ (Please make payable to The Countryside Restoration Trust) You can also pay over the phone by credit card (01223 262999). Or order on the website www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com Please return to: The Countryside Restoration Trust, Bird’s Farm, Haslingfield Rd, Barton, Cambridge CB23 7AG

Donation Total

Price


Festivals of Farming, Food & Wildlife - Summer 2015