Close up of wheat

Stephen and Joceline Gibson

Stephen and Joceline Gibson

Birkdale is a mixed arable and sheep farm in North Yorkshire.

It has an impressive range of rare arable flowers including Venus's looking glass, hairy buttercup, corn buttercup, weasel's snout, red hemp nettle, large flower hemp nettle, shepherd's needle, corn cockle, smooth tare, treacle mustard and four species of poppy. Spotted orchids also appear in the grass margins.

Stephen is encouraging these plants to produce seed to spread these rare species back into the local area through a Cornfield Wild Flowers project.

More than 100 species of bird have been recorded on the farm including barn owls, grey partridges, turtle doves, a thriving population of tree sparrows and breeding spotted flycatchers.

New wet grassland has been created for breeding waders, while arable margins and beetle banks support insects. Restored hedgerows now provide excellent cover for nesting birds, berries and a good source of blossom for nectar-feeding insects, and skylark plots have been created to boost breeding success.

Stephen's pond and wetlands support banded demoiselles, black tailed skimmer dragonflies and water voles. Badger gates have been introduced to manage their movement from field to field so as not to disturb nesting lapwings.

The farm encourages visits from universities, ecologists, members of the public and farmers.