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We are part of an exciting new movement in farming and conservation. Nationwide groups of farmers, sometimes referred to as ‘Farmer Clusters’, are working collectively to deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale. We initiate and devise our own conservation plans in line with local environmental priorities.

We first set up as an independent, member-led, self-funded organisation in 2017 with a small group of landowners and managers covering over 18,000 acres of land in the Wylye Valley, Wiltshire. We have grown significantly from this base and now have many more members covering over 32,000 acres. In 2019 we successfully bid for extra funding through the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund and were again successful for this funding in 2023. Improving ecological connectivity and producing healthy soils and clean water are key to our success. Our focus is to weave joined up spaces for nature through a healthy, and productive farmed landscape.

Each of our farmer members has been involved in individual conservation schemes in the past but there is only so much that can be achieved by acting in isolation. Connecting management across neighbouring farms will deliver far greater benefits.

Group members sign up to a simple group agreement which sets out the groups aims and terms of reference. The group is administered by a Management Committee and employs a conservation adviser to act as 'facilitator'.

About us


We are lucky to live and work in a beautiful and diverse area of countryside between Warminster and Wylye. Our farms cover upwards of 13,000 ha (32,000 acres) ranging from small riverside meadows, farm woods and productive forests, internationally rare chalk downland and arable fields of all shapes and sizes.


We are lucky to have a long list of species on our farms including some that a very rare.

Chalkhill blue
The downs
Species rich meadows
Insect food plants
Species rich meadows
Rare orchids
Rare orchids
Our environment


Our farmers and farms reflect the diversity in the landscape. We range from smallholders to large commercial businesses. We produce cereals, fodder crops, beef, lamb and milk and much, much more............

Our farms
Sheep on rare chalk grassland
Public visits
Species-rich grassland
Patchwork landscapes
Productive mixed arable
Pasture-fed livestock
Diverse cropping


Our main focus is on biodiversity and water but here are a few things in our conservation plan...

Reducing Water Pollution – We are working to reducing levels of nitrate, phosphate and sediment run-off reaching the River Wylye and the groundwater. We have been running a series of soil health activities, sampling and trials and achieved much of this in partnership with Wessex Water.

What’s in the Wylye - In 2023 we started a monitoring programme for nitrates and phosphates along a 20 mile stretch of the river Wylye. We are performing weekly tests at 17 locations to monitor nutrient levels to determine the impact that agriculture is presenting to our chalk stream.

We are also running a process called sediment fingerprinting which uses colour analysis to determine field run off. Through this we can locate areas of soil erosion from our fields and put mitigation measures in to reduce our impact, keeping the soil in our fields rather than polluting the river.

River Restoration: Wider Wylye Landscape Recovery - In 2024 our landscape recovery project begins which is all about river and floodplain restoration. We are working with the Wessex Rivers Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on the Wider Wylye project which aims to restore the river to a more natural state and reconnect it to the floodplain We aim to fully enhance the formerly species rich areas of floodplain meadow and, in some areas, relocate the river back to where it naturally occurs. This will have huge benefits for biodiversity, alongside improving water quality and sequestering carbon.

​Priority Habitats- Wiltshire is well known for its rare habitat types and the Wylye Valley, being just south of Salisbury Plain, is an important area for these habitats. Some of these include calcareous grassland, floodplain meadows, ancient woodland, fen, chalk riparian habitats and arable field margins. We work to maintain the current habitats in good condition, restore habitats in sub-optimal condition and link habitats to increase connectivity for wildlife.

Farm Wildlife – We run many meeting where we focus on individual species looking at how to identify and conserve them. Through this we hope to increasing numbers of declining farmland species  such as corn buntinglapwing, stone curlew, turtle dovebarn owlbrown haredormouse and invertebrates such as declining butterflies.


​Elm Trees- Since 2019 we have been planting disease resistant Elm trees in the valley and there are now over 500 individuals planted.


Black Poplar- The Wylye Valley is well known for the veteran Black Poplar that exist here. These trees are Britain’s rarest tree and due to a number of factors, are unable to propagate themselves. In 2024 we will be performing a survey along the Wylye to locate and identify the true Black Poplars that exist here, following this survey we will send off samples for DNA analysis to identify the most genetically diverse specimens which we will take cuttings for replanting.


Juniper –We are working with the charity Plantlife on our juniper project to bring this species back from the brink of extinction in Wiltshire. This involves creating scrapes on grassland where an area of chalk is exposed by removing the topsoil. Local Juniper seeds are then introduced to the area where they can thrive with no competition. Many of our members now have these scrapes on their grassland and the future of Juniper trees in the area is being secured.


Wild pollinators - Our Nectar Connector project is funded through the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme and aims to create pollinator highways across the landscape. So far, we have connected farms in the valley with grassland improvements, creation of flower rich grassland and hedgerow creation.

Education – We engage with local schools and community groups through our projects and events such as Open Farm Sunday to demonstrate the importance of farming in the rural economy and its role in delivering a wealth of public benefits. If your community group or school would like to get in touch to learn more about us and what we do please contact us.

What we do


We operate mainly inside the area indicated below and welcome other farmers and land managers within and nearby to join us.


Public access via the extensive network of existing rights of way is welcomed and we aim to work with visitors and locals to encourage a better understanding of how we manage our farms, the countryside and it’s wildlife.

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Where we farm


We are always looking for opportunities to form partnerships with like-minded individuals, companies and organisations with an interest in farming, the countryside and conservation.

Please get in touch if you want to hear more…………

Please contact us for more information
Become a sponsor


Secretary: Patrick Durnford, Fowler Fortescue, The Old Dairy, Fonthill Bishop, Salisbury, SP3 5SH. UK.

TEL: +44 1747 820031 |

Facilitator: Robin Leech, East Farm, Codford, Warminster, BA12 0PG
Tel: 07881 305836  |

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