February 2019 saw the sixth annual Big Farmland Bird Count organised by the GWCT with a record numbers of participants and species recorded. Over 1400 farmers took part and recorded 140 species across over 1 million acres (that’s more farmers than in any previous year). The count highlights the positive work done by farmers and gamekeepers on the Estate in helping to reverse the decline in farmland bird numbers. It also offers a simple means of recording the effect of the Estate’s conservation measures, such as scatter feeding birds through winter or growing winter kole and maize specifically to provide cover aid seed for birds.
Much of the farmland and moorland is entered into voluntary 5 and 10 year agri environment schemes which are administered by Natural England to deliver specific environmental management on the land for both the landscape and wildlife. Farmers and land managers can select from a wide range of environmental options to create agreements which support their farming and land management practices, along with meeting local and national conservation policies. These include management options such as:
~ Restoration and maintenance of moorland, wet grassland for waders and wildfowl and rough grazing for birds
~ Creation and maintenance of grassland for target features
~ Low inputs on permanent grassland to encourage grassland and wild flower species
~ Leaving buffer strips and field corners uncropped and overwintered stubbles to provide winter feed and cover for birds
~ Hedgerow and in field tree management for wildlife corridors and the landscape
In addition to the above voluntary schemes, the Estate complies with statutory DEFRA regulations to ensure delivery of the highest standards of public, animal and plant health, environmental measures and animal welfare.
Tel: 01765 689224
Swinton Estate Office, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4JH