FARMING, WILDLIFE AND PEOPLE IN HARMONY

ABOUT US

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 are proud to be an independent, member-led, self-funded, not for profit organisation.  A group of landowners and managers covering over 18,000 acres of land in the Wylye Valley, Wiltshire, working collaboratively to deliver large scale environmental improvements. Improving ecological connectivity and safeguarding clean water are key to our success. Our focus is to weave joined up spaces for nature through a healthy, and productive farmed landscape and to reduce pollutants reaching the River Wylye.

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'.

 

OUR ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE

We are lucky to live and work in a beautiful and diverse area of countryside between Warminster and Wylye. Our farms cover upwards of 8000 ha (18000 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.

IMG-20181204-WA0011
Chalkhill blue
The downs
Species rich meadows
Insect food plants
Species rich meadows
Rare orchids
Rare orchids
 

OUR FARMS

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............

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

WHAT WE DO

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

Reducing water pollution -  reducing levels of surface water nitrate, phosphate and sediment run-off reaching the River Wylye and the groundwater (drinking water) resource.

Flood alleviation - reducing the amount of surface water run-off, soil erosion and slowing the movement of floodwaters within the floodplain

Priority habitats - calcareous grassland, floodplain meadows, ancient woodland, fen, riparian habitats and arable field margins; maintaining current habitats in good condition, restoring habitats in sub-optimal condition, extending and linking habitats to increase connectivity for wildlife.

Farm wildlife - increasing numbers of declining farmland species  such as corn bunting, lapwing, stone curlew, turtle dove, barn owl, brown hare, dormouse and butterflies such as the white-letter hairstreak.

Wild pollinators - providing year round resources for bees, butterflies etc including flower rich habitats producing pollen and nectar.

Archaeology - active management that ensures the long term survival of historic features. Protecting archaeological sites from damage through arable cultivations or scrub/tree growth.

Education - engaging with local schools and community groups through 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.

 
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WHERE WE FARM

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.

 

BECOME A SPONSOR

Wylye Valley Farmers is an independent, member led, self-funded, not for profit organisation.

Each farm business pays a membership subscription and the aim is to match fund the membership fees with private sponsorship.

Our sponsors could be other businesses or individuals in the area wishing to add value to their own products and services but also benefitting through avoided costs, such as clean water, flood protection, healthy soils, reduced carbon emissions and the wider public health benefits that stem from living in a beautiful landscape rich in biodiversity.

 

CONTACT US

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

TEL: +44 1747 820031 |  pd@fowlerfortescue.co.uk

Facilitator: Helen Pengelly, Canopy Land Use, 5 Brickfield Offices, Maperton, Wincanton, BA9 8EG.UK.

TEL: +44 1963 33455  |  h.pengelly@canopylanduse.co.uk

 
Patchwork landscapes