Cotswolds farmer up for national Nature of Farming Award
A Cotswolds AONB farmer is one of four finalists for the 2010 Nature of Farming Award.
For more than a decade, Ian Boyd's farm has been successfully working towards the management of farm habitats for wildlife. His enthusiasm for this approach stands out resulting in an abundance of wildflowers and insects attracting birds all year.
Ian’s farm at Whittington Lodge in the Cotswolds has changed from being production-led to working in harmony with wildlife, starting at the bottom of the food chain by managing habitats for insects. This process is supported by agri-environment, but is largely down to Ian’s change of approach.
Species attracted to the farm include grey partridge, lapwings, corn buntings, small toadflax, Venus’s looking glass, greater and lesser horseshoe bats, and great crested newts and six types of orchids. This abundance of wildlife sits alongside a well-run commercial farm of arable and Hereford cows and calves.
Ian is also keen to share this wildlife and regularly takes visitors on “safaris” around his farm and runs an education programme for schools and special interest groups.
Ian Boyd said: “It is a wonderful feeling to have my passion for nature recognized in this way. This nomination is yet another way that I can share the farm and its abundance of birds, insects and wild flowers with others.”
Kevin Rylands, RSPB South West Farmland Conservation Adviser said: “The standard of the nominations this year was again very high and picking the SW winner was a real challenge. It is great that Ian’s efforts have been further rewarded now his farm has been selected to go forward for the public vote.
It’s inspiring to see the hard work and care that many farmers across the southwest are putting in to ensure that there are safe havens for wildlife in fields, woodlands and hedgerows. These farmers show there is still space for nature alongside modern farming.”
The Nature of Farming Award aims to find the most wildlife friendly farmer in the UK. It is run by the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the BBC’s Countryfile magazine and funded through the EU Life+ Programme.
After a shortlist of eight regional finalists was whittled down to four by a panel of judges, the public have been voting throughout the summer to pick a winner.