Close up of wheat

George and Ann Eaton

George and Ann Eaton

Rectory Farm is a half-square kilometre mixed farm in Buckinghamshire, with both Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) agreements in place.

Rotational cropping of winter wheat, oats and barley is managed, as well as 600 head of sheep and 35 suckler cows.

The River Great Ouse forms part of the farm boundary. Three years ago, water voles were reintroduced and have now naturalised. Otters have also reappeared as mink have been removed. A new backwater and kingfisher bank were created last winter.

In the riverside pasture, the RSPB’s rotary ditcher was used in the summer to restore old water channels and incorporate scrapes for lapwings and curlews. One of the water meadows is a County Wildlife Site, designated for its botanical interest. Management of this field as a traditional hay meadow has allowed plants such as meadow saxifrage and yellow rattle to spread.

The arable land boasts an impressive patchwork of wild bird seed mixtures, margins and new woodland and hedgerows.

George has erected a birdwatching hide, and a restored pond and dipping platform are well-used by the many groups that visit the farm as part of its educational access project, with George and Ann hosting up to 60 school visits per year.