Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

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Guest Blogs

Conservation work with the arable farmers of the Kent Downs

Tucked away in the depths of East Kent lies a patch of country that I'm privileged to call my workplace.  You'd think that anywhere sandwiched between London and the channel ports would be a bit of a jungle of roads, railways and development but thankfully the Kent downs have in many parts confounded the unstoppable...

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The Wildlife of Great Chalfield Manor

We started establishing wildlife corridors along the Chalfield and Lenton brooks in the mid-1970s encouraged by David Rice then County Forester for Wiltshire. Most of the 350 acres I farm and the woods that I manage now belong to the National Trust. We enjoy a good mix of habitats: encouraging biodiversity is both a high...

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Fivehead Arable Fields Nature Reserve

I grasped this opportunity to volunteer for many reasons, but in 2020 when we were all wondering where any of our freedoms and constraints were heading, I knew I wanted to be in the outdoors and this small reserve of 11 ha was on one of my daily walks. Somerset Wildlife Trust had sufficient trust...

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Discovering Corn Buttercup on a Somerset Farm

On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in June 2019 we attended a Colour in the Margins Arable Plant meeting and farm walk in Somerset. Before heading off around the fields we were asked if anyone had experience of managing AB11 plots. It's not just the BBC's 'Line of Duty' who have their acronyms! AB11 is a...

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Arable Seed Swap

Having always been a very amateur botanist, over the last few years I've taken a more active interest in arable plant communities in particular. This is in part due to living in an arable-dominated landscape on the mid-Hampshire chalk and the 2020 lockdown meant that local habitats were visited often. I'm in the midst of...

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Cavities in Chaos – Bridging the Gap of a Microhabitat in Decline

One of the most important microhabitats of ancient and veteran trees are the rot holes and cavities used by everything from barn owls and bats roosting in the hollows to rare beetles burrowing through the fungi-infested dead wood. Rot holes form when heart-rot fungi begin to decompose the heartwood at the centre of the tree....

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Arable Archaeology – a wander back in time

As many of us wander through the arable countryside for exercise, dog walking or to appreciate the stunning array of plants that surround us, I wonder how many of us stop to think about what lies beneath our feet and the history of past generations that have walked there before us? To have the opportunity...

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600 miles, 8 days, 11 nature reserves, 1 epic challenge!

Needless to say, lots of plans and dreams this year have been scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic. Conservationists and RSPB staff members Dr Jen Smart and husband Mark Smart had planned to cycle from the UK to the annual conference of the International Wader Study Group (IWSG), which was to be held in Germany this...

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A Season of Mixed Fortunes

While the black-tailed godwit breeding season has (sadly) come to an end, some birds may venture over to coastal wetlands around the UK before migrating south to wetland sites in Spain, Portugal and West Africa for the ‘non-breeding season’ in autumn and winter. The team at Project Godwit is always eager to receive sightings of...

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Rare wildlife making the most of the quiet

During lockdown the National Trust has reported that emboldened wildlife, from raptors and warblers to Badgers, Otters and even orcas, appear to be enjoying the disappearance of humans from its gardens, castles and waterways across the UK. Reports from rangers and gardeners include Peregrine Falcons nesting in the ancient ruins of Corfe Castle in Dorset,...

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