A303 Sparkford to Ilchester

https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a303-sparkford-to-ilchester/

The A303 is the most direct main route between the south east and the south west. Tens of thousands of people use the road every day, including tourists on their way to some of the nation’s favorite holiday destinations.

But for now the road is not great at getting people from A to B. It is regularly congested and is frustrating for motorists who try to avoid tailbacks by diverting onto unsuitable local roads. This makes life hard for local communities too.

The aim is for Highways England to transform the route into an expressway, a new type of strategic road which is as safe and reliable as a motorway and where ‘mile-a-minute’ journeys are the norm.

Although both proposed routes will have a detrimental impact on our farm; Option 2 stands head and shoulders above the other in terms of the devastation on the rare ecology, natural environment and landscape. We are proud of our British countryside and have invested decades of time and effort into protecting it by maintaining and developing habitats for native plants and animals, maintaining footpaths and bridleways, protecting our watercourses and helping our birds to survive the winter months by planting numerous acres of specific plants that keep them fed all winter such as sunflowers, quinoa and triticale

We have been the custodians of this countryside for over 50 years and have nurtured our habitats to allow species to thrive in changing weather conditions.  Our conservation efforts have culminated in going further than we ever believed possible, and have resulted in such broad, diverse habitats that we are now home to numerous Local, National and Internationally protected "Red List Species", such as both White Letter and Brown Hairstreak Butterflies, Greater Butterfly and Green Winged Orchids, migratory Bittern which stop off at our Medieval Pond in our Scheduled Saxon Monument, to name but a few. All of this wonderful ecology will be permanently destroyed if the new, much-needed dual carriageway is sent through our farm. 

Please support us in providing your feedback to Highways England via their survey here which is open until 28th March 2017. Option 1 is a shorter route, built upon widening the existing highway, and avoiding this indescribably important ecologically diverse farmland.  

Help us to ensure we can continue to manage the environment to maintain the very things we cherish and provide as much feedback as you can in response to Questions 5 and 10 which will assist Highways England in determining the business case for the preferred route.

Linking Environment and Farming

We are thrilled to announce that we have been accepted as members of LEAF - Linking Environment and Farming. Every day we have to make careful decisions on what is best for the land, the crop and the wildlife with which we share this wonderful landscape and being part of LEAF will allow us to work with other farmers to produce good food, with care and to high environmental standards.

http://www.leafuk.org

Linking Environment And Farming

Lytes Cary Arable Reversion Project 2013/14

Working with George Holmes from the National Trust, Tim, Nick and Andrew have been busy at Lytes Cary drilling a grass/wildflower seed mix. Lytes Cary have allocated 3 fields to be part of an arable reversion project (funded through Higher Level Stewardship) to revert the fields which run alongside the River Cary, back to grassland. The first stage of this project, completed by the National Trust, was to fence the affected fields and put in new native hedges. Now the fields have been seeded and rolled and, unlike most over the Easter weekend, we are eagerly awaiting the promised half an inch of rain to ensure peak germination. When established, the resulting grassland will provide a nesting habitat for wildlife and ground-nesting birds and be a valuable food source for a variety of birds - including the resident pheasant!

National Trust tenancy at Lytes Cary Manor

 We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application to farm Lytes Cary Manor on behalf of the National Trust. This is an exciting opportunity for us as we endeavor to expand our business. We share many of the aims and objectives of the National Trust, in particular, our passion for promoting our local native species and their habitats. We will work with the National Trust to pay close attention to the management of dedicated habitats, such as our grass borders, hedges, ponds and beetle banks, and with care, we will apply our conventional methods of farming, aiming to succeed in coupling a native, species-rich farm with a successful arable farming operation.

Biobed features in Natural England Land Management newsletter

Our biobed features in the February 2013 edition of the Natural England Land Management newsletter, produced to keep people up to date with what is happening with the Environmental Stewardship schemes.

Tim has been working with Roy Hayes, the local CSF Officer, to tackle a problem identified by a local water company and has installed a sprayer filling area and biobed.

Installing a biobed is often a practical and convenient way to minimise surface water pollution by preventing the drips and spills in a pesticide handling area from contaminating water. Biobeds use a simple bio purification system to filter out pesticides and an enhanced microbial activity to breakdown pesticides.

366 Brown Hairstreak eggs found to date

Mark Fletcher, our Butterfly recorder, has found an incredible 366 Brown Hairstreak eggs to date on the farm (as well as 6 hatched/damaged) 39, Blue-bordered Carpet moth eggs and 18 Purple Hairstreak eggs.

The long-term trend for this species shows a severe decline and it is therefore a priority species for conservation efforts. The primary larval foodplant is Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) for the Brown Hairstreak and in accordance with our HLS agreement, Tim manages and maintains the hedgerows to support our vital wildlife habitats.

see UK Butterflies for more information

(March 12, 2012)