Farmers in the area may wish to apply to Natural England to join Countryside Stewardship. The Shropshire Hills is one of three target areas in the English midlands for Countryside Stewardship, with particular emphasis on breeding birds. The numbers of Lapwing and Curlew locally and nationally are declining rapidly, and Natural England wants to reverse this decline. Payments to farmers through Countryside Stewardship, to maintain or create suitable habitat for these birds, is therefore a high priority. Farmers who want to help Lapwing and Curlew have a better chance of having their applications accepted; the proposed payment rate managing or creating wet grassland for breeding waders is £264 per ha or £406 per ha respectively. (See https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/countryside-stewardship-get-paid-for-environmental-land-management)
Most farmers value the wildlife on their land, and want to help. As part of our work we have built up a good working relationship with many such farmers, but we want to work with even more. Almost all the land in our area, and all the habitat where Lapwing and Curlew breed, is on farmland so, if action to reverse the decline is to be successful, farmers need to be actively involved. We hope all farmers will help the wildlife on their farm.
For farmers applying for Countryside Stewardship, our data on the breeding distribution and habitats used by these birds may be helpful as you prepare an application or in support of the application itself. We can also provide advice on management for these birds, can help with the application, and assist in selecting the best options for wildlife, if you wish.
Similarly, Countryside Stewardship may pay to maintain habitats for a number of wild flowers and butterflies, and we have data on these that might be useful too. If we don’t have the data that’s needed, we can probably undertake a specific site survey in the coming spring and summer, if that would be appropriate and helpful.
Even if you are not currently thinking of applying for Countryside Stewardship, we hope you will do as much as you can to manage your farm for the wildlife on your land. Other sources of funding may be available – see photo caption.
Farmers who would like to discuss wildlife on the farm, or who want more information about the Upper Onny Wildlife Group, should contact Richard Keymer (Chairman) via e-mail UOWG@shropscwgs.org.uk. Bird surveys are co-ordinated by Leo Smith and plant surveys are co-ordinated by Rob Rowe; both can be contacted via the UOWG e-mail above. If you want other wildlife groups surveyed on your farm please ask – we will probably be able to identify someone with the requisite knowledge and skills.
The Upper Onny Wildlife Group received financial support from the Stiperstones & Corndon Hill Country Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The lead organisation for the Scheme is the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, and the Scheme is hosted by Shropshire Council. Please see www.stiperstonesandcorndon.co.
Page updated: 07/12/2019 by RWS