Open Farm Sunday at Hope Farm to lift lid on nature-friendly farming

Rupert Masefield

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Hope Farm, the RSPB's nature-friendly demonstration farm in Knapwell, Cambridgeshire, is opening its gates for LEAF Open Farm Sunday, and giving visitors a chance to explore the world of nature-friendly farming and see first-hand how farming can help wildlife.

When: Sunday 11th June

Where: Hope Farm, High Street, Knapwell, Cambridge

Opening time: 10 am - 2 pm

Admission cost: Free

More info: www.rspb.org.uk/hopefarm, call 01954 267438, or e-mail georgina.bray@rspb.org.uk

What's happening:

Visitors to Hope Farm on Open Farm Sunday will be able to enjoy a packed day of activities including wildlife walks, guided tractor and trailer farm wildlife tours, and bird ringing demonstrations.

For the kids, there will be arts and crafts activities, nature treasure hunts with prizes, farm animals to meet, and farm machinery on show.

Rounded off with a farm barbecue and the chance to buy some wildlife-friendly farm produce, it has all the ingredients of a great day out on the farm.

The link between food and wildlife:

Three quarters of the land area of the UK is used to produce food, so of course how we manage the land where our food is grown matters for the environment, nature and the wildlife that lives in our countryside.

The RSPB works with farmers around the UK to help make sure that where farmland birds and wildlife are declining, we find out why and together find solutions to help turn things around.

Unfortunately, specialist farmland birds and wildlife have continued to decline in the UK, and birds including turtle doves, corn buntings, yellow wagtails and skylarks are still in trouble.

Hope Farm and wildlife-friendly farming:

Hope Farm is a 450 acre arable farm (growing mostly cereals like wheat) in Cambridgeshire. The RSPB has managed Hope Farm for 16 years, developing new farming techniques which help both farmers and wildlife.

Since the RSPB started farming at Hope Farm, birds and other wildlife have really benefited:

  • Skylark territories increased from 10 to 43 between 2010 and 2015
  • In 2000-01 there was a peak count of 2 yellowhammers on the farm. In 2015 this was 723!
  • Numbers of butterflies increased by 224% from 2000 to 2015

Against a background of declines in the UK's farmland birds and other wildlife, Hope Farm has shown that it is possible to reverse the loss of wildlife from the countryside while still meeting the nation's food needs.

Ian Dillon, RSPB Hope Farm Manager, said: "A lot of people, especially in the younger generation growing up in towns or cities, might rarely if ever have visited a farm and seen where their food comes from or how its production impacts on wildlife.

"Open Farm Sunday is a great opportunity for the public to visit us at Hope Farm and see first-hand what we are doing here and how nature-friendly farming can help wildlife at the same time as growing the food we all eat - and of course to enjoy a day out on the farm!"

LEAF Open Farm Sunday:

This event is one of hundreds of farms across the country which will be welcoming visitors on the 11th June 2017 as part of the farming industry's annual open day. Open Farm Sunday is managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and is the farming industry's annual open day, when farmers open their for farmers to open their gates and welcome people onto their farms to discover the world of farming.

Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday Manager at LEAF commented: "Modern farming is incredibly diverse and impacts on all of us - from the clothes we wear to the medicines we take and the food we eat, as well as managing our beautiful countryside for us all to enjoy. Farming plays a vital part in all our lives. LEAF Open Farm Sunday gives everyone the rare opportunity to see farming in real life and to learn about the hard work, care and pride that goes into the work farmers do, which is so vital to the environment, our lives and the economy."


To find out more about RSPB Hope Farm and plan you visit on Open Farm Sunday this June 11, visit www.rspb.org.uk/hopefarm, call 01954 267438, or e-mail georgina.bray@rspb.org.uk

To find out more about LEAF and find an Open Farm Sunday event near you, visit www.farmsunday.org or www.leafuk.org

1. LEAF Open Farm Sunday is managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming). LEAF works with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers to inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities. LEAF has organised Open Farm Sunday since it began in 2006. (LEAF is a registered charity no: 1045781)

LEAF's twelfth annual Open Farm Sunday takes place on 11th June 2017. It is the farming industry's annual open day. A day for farmers to open their gates and welcome people onto their farms to discover the world of farming.

2. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Farming