February 2019 saw the sixth annual Big Farmland Bird Count organised by the GWCT with a record numbers of participants (including the Swinton Estate) and species recorded. Across England, 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 kale and maize specifically to provide cover aid seed for birds.
Much of the farmland and moorland on the Estate 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. These agreements support the farming and land management practices on the Estate, along with meeting local and national conservation policies. These include the restoration and maintenance of moorland & wet grassland for waders and wildfowl, and rough grazing for birds; the 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 stubble to provide winter feed and cover for birds; and hedgerow and in field tree management for wildlife corridors and the landscape.
In addition to the above voluntary schemes, the Estate also 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