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Tim Scott – RGS

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In the final instalment looking at the highlights of the 25th Anniversary at the Royal Geographical Society, we hear from the tenant farmer of the flagship farm, Lark Rise.

25 years ago, Tim Scott became tenant farmer of Lark Rise farm. In 1993, Tim was tending to 20 acres of land. Since then the farm has grown to over 450 acres of farm with an abundance of wildlife!

“When I was a little boy, all I wanted to do, there were two things: it was wildlife and tractors”

Stemming from a young age, his passion for wildlife was apparent and now means that Tim Scott is now ‘living the dream”. Out in the tractor, in his “own little bird-hide”, he able to admire the vast array of wildlife that now call Lark Rise home!

There are many species that call Lark Rise home, but one has flourished on the farm. Because of the time and efforts Tim Scott has put into habitat restoration and natural food provisions, Lark Rise was awarded the highest national density of Grey Partridge. A spokesman from Redlist Revival commented, ‘The Award reflects the range of habitat, the proportion of the holding dedicated to ecology and the commitment Tim shows towards ecology and the enhancement of our natural resources.’ Find out more: https://www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com/news/tim-scott-wins-life-land-awards-2018-2/

“A key word in the trust is sympathetic”

Every single decision that Tim Scott makes regarding the farm has wildlife in mind. Listen to hear Tim Scott explain what mosaic farming is and other techniques he has used to transform the farm from the baron farm it was 25 years ago to the naturally successful farm it is today!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzigwip1b70

Derek Gow – RGS

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For the fourth instalment looking at the highlights of the 25th Anniversary at the Royal Geographical Society, we listen to the clearly passionate talk from Derek Gow.

An ecologist that who is knowledgeable on beavers and argues for their reintroduction. In his career, along with help from other experts he has successfully contributed and so, is very experienced in the breeding and subsequently reintroduction of the water vole it is understandable that he refers to them through his talk.

“So many animals we were once familiar with, are not going to be brown, and furry, and breathing, and sentient; they are going to be black and white photographs in an encyclopaedia.”

Even though experienced in the smaller animals, Gow argues that we as humans are destroying all habitats and corridors that animals used. This reduction in space has totally change the size of the animal the land can sustain, and this has had a massive impact – especially on the British wildlife.

“The big carnivores are gone. The big herbivores are gone. And now we are worrying about the little animals!”

He deliberates on the idea of rewilding – how if done, should be done properly!

“Rewilding is a great idea until you hit a moose in your Mini!”

A powerful speech from an ardent and knowledgeable man!

Pam Ayres – RGS

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Beloved Hedgehogs

The third talk video this week is the illustrious poet, the entertainer, and passionate countrywoman Pam Ayres. During this talk we hear stories of her adored house with 20 acres of land that became home to many of the rehabilitating hedgehogs from the local animal hospital!

“The native birds are singing as they sing here every day,
oh who will feed my little birds when I am far away?”

The first poem Pam Ayres recites – an emotional and evocative poem about leaving her beloved house of 28 years. The house “where the swifts nested in the roof… under the same scrape of tile” on the 20 acres of land where she and her husband “planted 1000 natives trees and planted two native hedges… and developed the interest in having wildlife around [her]”. Her garden decorated with two decades of gifts of plants and shrubs. Poem running time: 07:50 – 10:07

She also describes her attempts to encourage wildlife into her now, much smaller, garden. Something so simple as leaving a pile of brash can encourage a multitude of creatures into the garden – even the illusive grass snake.

But in the next poem, written from the perspective of the “final hedgehog left on earth”, Pam Ayres stresses why you should always check your brash pile/bonfire before lighting it!

“Farewell, farewell for what its worth,
from the final hedgehog left on earth.
My cousin Henry, young and bright,
went up in flames on bonfire night”

Full of humour but some very important messages, this poem is well worth a listen!
Poem running time: 15:51 – 18:21

Living a rural life, in a small country village, Pam Ayres loves to spend a Sunday sat in her favourite seat by the fire in the local pub. Nevertheless, in her final poem she eloquently explains the one thing she really does not like about this pub – it’s so funny, so well written, I can definitely say, it’s worth a listen!
Poem running time: 20:44 – 22:25

James Rebanks – RGS

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‘What can we do to make things better?’

Continuing some of the highlights of the 25th Anniversary at the Royal Geographical Society, today we look at James Rebanks spoke about how he has changed his farm and continued traditional farming methods to increase the biodiversity calling it home.

Inspired by his late father’s love of the farming, land and love of nature, James Rebanks recalls a pivotal memory where his father that sparked his venture from the ‘new type of farming’ to the more traditional.

It was amazing to hear the variation in habitat that Mr Rebanks allows to flourish on his farm. One of his proudest achievements he discussed is the 200 different species of plant on his meadows. However, as he stated “it’s a sobering to realise that when I’ve restored those meadows in about 5 years’ time, they will amount to 1% upland meadows in the British Isles…” how is it that there is only approximately 2300 hectares left across the country?

He also described how, clearing the river banks on his farm caused “an explosion of voles” which ultimately brought back the Barn Owls! During his talk he mentioned many specialists that have visited his farm and the wealth of different species they have found, including Cain Scrimgeour who counted as defined by Mr Rebanks as “a zoo of moths”!

Education…

Another topic that featured in his talk was the need for education; the farmers need to be taught how to look after the wildlife. “We’re not going to conserve anything unless we start educating an enormous amount of people like me that didn’t know enough 10 years ago, but need to know a lot more to look after things properly… I’ve known farmers that have been in environmental schemes for 30/40 years and haven’t got a clue!”.

Through this video you can see the passion James Rebanks has for his farm and the natural world around it.

Zac Goldsmith MP – RGS

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“I think its people like Robin that make the world a better place.”

Just over a month since the 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Thursday 1st November – where has that month gone? The festive season is almost upon us!

This week we are highlighting some of brilliant talks given on the day. Some poignant, some funny, some alarming – all these talks convey the passion of those who directly or indirectly, work with the CRT to make the countryside and ultimately the planet a better place!

In this video we listen to Zac Goldsmith MP’s opening speech where he highlights how inspiring Robin Page’s passion truly is. He describes Robin Page as a ‘hero’! And it was because of this hero that inspired Zac Goldsmith to become involved with the CRT.

Mr Goldsmith also mentions quite alarming statistic that a child today is 3x mores likely to end up in hospital from falling out of bed than out of a tree! How can this be?! “We’re stripping nature of its value; we’re stripping children of their childhood.” The CRT’s education centres are more vital than ever – whilst children are on average spending 7 hours a day on a screen and NOT learning about the wonderful ecosystem the countryside, or even just their back garden has to offer!

Being one of the most controversial political upheavals in living history, of course, as an MP, Mr Goldsmith explained how “Brexit could provide us with that green dividend… how we could completely reform the way the common agricultural is organised” and the stark reality as to why it is not currently working.

“I see a hero…”

This opening speech truly portrays Zac Goldsmith’s admiration for Robin Page and how “[he] has been indescribably brave in pursuing his ambition for the CRT… because of him we have a holding bank of living, breathing, knowledge and skills. He’s shown us, not only how to reconcile farming with the natural world but why we have to absolutely do that.”

If you have 10 minutes spare, if didn’t get to go to the Royal Geographical Society, or even if you did, it’s definitely worth a watch!

Pierrepont Farm Open Day

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Adopt a calf - Elsa

Pierrepont Farm CRT Friends’ and Jersey Cow Adopters’ Day – 7th Oct

What a glorious weekend of weather was enjoyed by all the staff, tenant farmers, volunteers and visitors we had to the Pierrepont Farm open day in Surrey! So lucky considering the day prior setting up was an absolute wash out!

With wildlife talk and wildlife walks, BBQ and local crafts, there was plenty to enjoy on that sunny Sunday afternoon. There was also the opportunity for those who had adopted our calf Pickle to meet her – although she definitely wasn’t as small as when people had first adopted her! Pickle has made excellent progress this year and was brought in from the field especially so the adopters could meet her!

We also announced our latest calf to be adopted at the open weekend – Elsa – she is still up for adoption via the website https://www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com/adopt-an-animal/

Worcestershire Naturalist’s Club visit to Awnells Farm on 7 June 2018

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An interesting and enjoyable day was had by all at Awnells Farm in Herefordshire.  Eight members of this organisation took part in the walk led by Viv Geen looking at the wildlife and traditional Hereford cattle on the farm.  Several new invertebrate species were recorded on the farm particularly moth and beetle species.  Everyone enjoyed meeting Jock; the friendly Hereford steer.  They were amazed at how tame he was and how he responded to his name.  One participant particularly enjoyed hearing the cuckoo calling.  The visit finished with a well-earned cup of tea and slice of cake.

Following on from this walk we hope to organise an invertebrate survey or bio-blitz at Awnells in 2019.

Here is a list of invertebrate species recorded during the visit provided by Carol and John Taylor:

Bees

Andrena cineraria (Andrena Cineraria)

Andrena haemorrhoa (Andrena Haemorrhoa)

Apis mellifera (Apis Mellifera)

Bombus hypnorum (Tree Bumblebee)

Bombus lapidaries (Red-tailed Bumblebee)

Bombus pascuorum (Common Carder-bee)

Bombus pratorum (Early Bumblebee)

Bombus terrestris (Buff-tailed Bumblebee)

 

Beetles

Oedemera nobilis (Swollen-Thighed Beetle)

Pseudocistela ceramboides (a scarce saproxylic beetle)- recorded mating in the Main Orchard.

 

Butterflies and Moths

Common Blue butterfly

Epiblema sticticana

Garden Grass-Veneer moth

Meadow Brown butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

Scoparia ambigualis

Silver-Ground Carpet moth

Silver ‘Y’ moth

Small Magpie moth

Small White butterfly

Speckled Yellow moth

Straw Dot moth

Yellow Shell moth

 

Grasshoppers

Chorthippus parallelus (Meadow Grasshopper)

 

Sawflies

Rhogogaster viridis

Tenthredo mesomelas

 

Soldierfly

Chloromyia Formosa (Chloromyia Formosa)

 

Viv Geen

Monitoring Officer (Herefordshire)

 

 

2017 CRT Events

Where we’ll be in 2018 !

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Interested in wildlife, farming or rural conservation? Keen to volunteer and help our campaign for a living, working countryside?

The come along and meet the team in 2018 to find out more about the Countryside Restoration Trust and how YOU can help through membership, volunteering and Fundraising.

 

Rustics Activities for Saturday 9 June

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Dear all, this weekend is the start of the Himalayan Balsam season, hurrah!

I know this is one of those jobs that some love and some hate so we have another job or two available as well. We shall be working at Westfield and the time is right to clear the nettles around the meander route, so everyone gets the fun of Urtica dioica in one way or another. There is likely to be a bit of litter picking in the nearby meadow if we have lots of balsam refusers in the turnout; our local school enjoy visiting this remote site for parties from time to time. Empty bottles and cans are a problem for the sheep and wildlife.

For those new to balsam bashing, it is a non-native plant which can dominate the riverbanks and shade out native vegetation. Given a free rein it becomes the dominant vegetation on any damp soil; it is a short-lived annual plant which grows from seed to 3m tall in a summer, and when it dies down in winter leaves bare riverbanks highly susceptible to erosion. In summer it is good for bees, but so good that the bees fail to pollinate other plants effectively. We are part of a group of people working to reduce its impact on the Bourn Brook. The job involves getting into the brook (chest waders are provided) and pulling the plants out – the roots are very shallow – and hanging the plants up in branches etc. to dry it out and kill it before the seeds are ripe in August. In early June the plants are big enough to spot, although we will certainly miss many small ones as they germinate sporadically through the spring whenever it’s wet. The sooner we get the big ones out now, the less likely they are to flower before our next visit when we will get the second wave. It’s a great way to see the brook habitat from a different perspective.

We’ll meet at 9:30 Birds Farm for a coffee and to sort out the right size waders for everyone before setting off to the site about 9:45. I’m not sure what the catering plans are at the moment but will update later in the week

Cheers

Vince