Tom has a lifelong interest in nature which he shares with his parents. Integrated farm management is at the heart of the farm business; Tom tries hard to balance the requirements of managing a profitable business with a responsibility and sensitivity to the environment.
When Countryside Stewardship grants became available 15 years ago. Tom realised plans to plant wild flower margins and beetle banks, re-plant and restore hedgerows, pollard willows and create and restore several ponds.
Tom created wildflower margins around all the fields and 1000m of beetle banks. The margins are 6m wide; 2m of tussocky grass and 4m of native grasses and wild flowers. These give a wonderful summer display and give us a great deal of pleasure. They provide an ideal habitat for a host of invertebrates, many of which are parasitic on other insects which are harmful to crops. The increase in farmland birds and small mammals has been clear to see, which in turn, has resulted in an increase in barn owls and other birds of prey.
Sky lark plots
We have created 'skylark plots' in the middle of the cereal fields to allow skylarks and other farmland birds to feed. Although larks often nest in the crop itself rather than on these plots, they can be seen regularly using these areas to gain access to the crops and to feed on the insects there.
180 willows have been pollarded under the Stewardship management plan. The timber has been stacked in a variety of ways to provide nesting sites for thrushes, wrens and other birds, habitats for a host of invertebrates and hibernation sites for moths, butterflies, amphibians and hedgehogs.