Tony Wood manages Abbots Reading Farm, a traditional 157 ha beef and sheep farm in Cumbria.
Tony is passionate about extensively managing the farm’s varied habitats to achieve conservation outcomes whilst producing premium quality meat in collaboration with Holker Estates who own some of the land that Tony farms.
Abbots Reading encompasses saltmarsh, lowland raised bog, fen, low input pastures and meadows and wet grassland.
Tony uses a mix of traditional Herdwick sheep along with native beef shorthorn and Highland cattle to carry out the farm's grazing whilst striving to maintain high quality pedigree animals. The livestock management provides ideal conditions for lapwings, curlews, redshanks and snipe that all breed on the farm along with a range of other fauna and flora including small pearl-bordered fritillaries, otters and common dormice.
Tony and his family have managed the farm sympathetically for the last 15 years under the Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme. He has improved features such as the floristically diverse fen swards and landscape scale qualities of the farm.
Tony is now embarking on Higher Level Stewardship. It will incorporate his current good environmental management and build upon this with public and educational access along with sympathetic arable management to target key species such as grey partridges and tree sparrows.