WOODLANDS FARM HIGHER LEVEL STEWARDSHIP SCHEME
Woodlands Farm is managed under a Higher Level Stewardship Agreement (HLS), administered by Natural England.
The scheme encourages landowners and farmers to maintain and improve biodiversity and habitats on their land to increase wildlife species and habitats which may be at risk.
Woodlands Farm is located in an area targeted to reverse the decline in farmland birds, including grey partridge; yellow hammer; linnet; lapwing; turtle dove; tree sparrow and yellow wagtail.
Woodlands Farm is also participating in the The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project.
Learn more about how Woodlands Farm is helping your countryside, and how you can help wildlife in the area …..
Woodlands Farm is providing important nesting, winter and summer feed for farmland birds ……
Wild Bird Seed Mix
These areas of seed bearing crops in arable fields are managed to provide a sustained source of food during winter months for targeted wild birds of Yellowhammer, Linnet and Tree Sparrow.
Crops include: linseed, kale, quinoa, millet, triticale, barley, gold of pleasure, fodder radish or mustard.
In addition, Woodlands Farm is supplementary feeding birds on hard tracks across the farm with a mix of grain and seeds – twice a week throughout the winter.
Pollen and Nectar Mixes
Margins and field corners are enriched with flowering plants to provide excellent habitats and food sources for butterflies and bumblebees.
Floristically Enhanced Margins
Field corners and grass margins are sown with floristically enhanced mixes to provide a variety of flowers and plants to create habitats and summer feed for insects, wild birds and brown hare.
Following summer harvest, some fields are left as stubble through the winter to provide excellent winter habitats and food for farmland birds. These areas are rotated around Woodlands Farm each winter.
In the middle of arable fields Woodlands Farm has left un-drilled areas, larger than 16m2 to provide a safe habitat for Skylarks to nest, away from predators.
Plan of Woodlands Farm showing the HLS management areas in yellow, and public footpaths in purple:
Hedgerows provide excellent habitats for birds, bats and wildlife, and act as “corridors” between habitats such as woodlands, enabling animals and birds to travel safely. Woodlands Farm manages all hedgerows on two or three yearly cutting cycles to maintain the benefit for wildlife.
New hedgerows are being established, and other hedgerows are being restored through traditional ‘cutting and laying’ management.
THE WARWICKSHIRE BARBASTELLE PROJECT
Barbastelle bats are a rare species, most commonly found in the south of England but also here in South Warwickshire. The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project was a 2.5 year conservation project funded by the SITA Trust and lead by Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with Warwickshire Bat Group.
Between September 2011 and April 2014 the project involved catching and tagging 11 barbastelle bats (under a Natural England licence. The bats were radiotracked by teams of volunteers to identify new roost sites and key feeding areas, and to understand more about their ecology.
The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project has provided over 700m of native hedgerows to Woodlands Farm, planted by over 25 volunteers, to improve connectivity between roost nests and feeding sites, and along with ten bespoke bat boxes to provide new roosting sites for the barbastelles.
How can you help your countryside
For the benefits of the Stewardship Scheme at Woodlands Farm to be effective, everybody who walks or enjoys the farm must be involved:
· Keep to the designated footpaths
· Keep your dog under control at all times
· Do not let your dogs into the margins, or areas of wild bird seed or pollen and nectar —these are for the benefit of ground nesting birds and to provide safe habitats
· Pick up any litter
· Enjoy the countryside but do not disturb it
· Take only photographs, leave only footprints
For more information on the HLS agreement at Woodlands Farm, or information on conservation in the countryside, visit: http://sheldonbosley.wordpress.com/
Thanks go to:
- Natural England
- The Warwickshire Barbastelle Project.
- Sheldon Bosley Chartered Surveyors