Barclye Farm RSPB reserve, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland.

Regional winners - 2012

Once again the standard of the competition has been very high. All regional winners from around the UK show great dedication to helping wildlife on their farms and beyond.

Henry Edmunds - Wiltshire

Henry Edmund is the winner of the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming award for 2012.

Henry farms the Cholderton Estate, a 16-square kilometre mixed organic farm in Willtshire. You can read more about his farm below:

Sustainable farming is the guiding principle at Cholderton.

For the past thirty years Henry has aimed to achieve a balance between modern agriculture and the preservation of the countryside, with a belief that farming is a close co-operation between productivity and conservation.

Chalk grassland, grazed by the native Hampshire Downs sheep, is alive with flowers and buzzing with insects, including rare bumblebees, moths and butterflies, amongst them the stunning adonis blue.

Elsewhere on the farm corn buntings, lapwings and grey partridges thrive amongst the crops, alongside brown hares, diminutive harvest mice and rare arable plants such as cornflower and Martin’s ramping fumitory.

This abundance of wildlife sits neatly alongside food production where the harvest delivers a healthy landscape, economy and environment. 

Read more about Henry Edmunds work.

Rob Allan - Oxfordshire

Upton Estate is farming sustainably, delivering a balance – food for us and food for wildlife.

Rob is very proud and extremely passionate about the huge range of diverse habitats supporting rich and varied wildlife on the estate such as barn owls, corn buntings, skylarks and tree sparrows.

He will continue to make space for wildlife habitats alongside his farming techniques in the future. Rob believes that wildlife options can be incorporated into and improve farming rotations, ensuring that farms remain sustainable.

Jason Gathorne-Hardy - Suffolk

Biodiversity, landscape and sustainability are at the heart of Jason Gathorne-Hardy's revolutionary farm.

Producing own branded Alde Valley Lamb, hosting school visits and food and art festivals, and working timber on site, his arable crop production, part of a wider estate, bulges with wild bird seed and nectar flower mixtures.

Jason continuously trials new ways to reconnect people with landscape, nature and food, his network of nature trails taking in river banks, flower enriched grassland and woodland coppice.

2012 Regional Winner Jason Gathorne

John and Tegwyn Burns - Carmarthenshire

On Penlan Farm, John, Tegwyn and their team Richard, Rowan and Roger (pictured above) strongly believe that commercial farming and conservation can coexist.

Growing crops and producing free-range eggs for use in their pet food ensures a quality end product. Even the hay from their species-rich meadows, a haven for all manner of birds and bees, is sold as premium rabbit hay (not including wild carrot since it turns out this is toxic to rabbits).

The woodlands and hedgerows are sensitively managed, benefitting a variety of flora and fauna and the re-introduction of arable crops to the area has allowed rare arable plants a chance to germinate.

They are keen to increase permissive paths around the farm, giving the public a chance to enjoy the wildlife that Penlan Farm encourages.

John and Tegwyn Burns

Jack Kelly - County Down

Jack’s mixed farm in County Down, Northern Ireland demonstrates how wildlife conservation can be successfully integrated into the management of a small farm.

The threatened species, yellowhammer, linnet, tree sparrow and reed bunting are all thriving on Jack’s farm as a result of his conservation efforts. These include sowing Wild Bird Cover and retaining stubble to provide food during the winter months for these seed-eating birds.

Jack has been trimming his hedges in the classic ‘A’ shape for more than 20 years, providing dense cover for nesting birds, and continues to use traditional farming methods such as harvesting hay.

With their shared love of nature, the Kelly family aim to support wildlife on their farm long into the future.

Peter Knight - West Sussex

The Norfolk Estate is a commercially run mixed farming unit that sees conservation at its core.

Farming systems and conservation management have been implemented to benefit each other, providing quality food and abundant wildlife through an ethic of 'more output, less impact'.

This has achieved great increases in birds, insects, plants and mammals, which is being demonstrated and communicated to a wide range of audiences through walks on the Estate and talks to many different groups.

The Estate Manager, Peter Knight, has been instrumental in this process, using his knowledge and passion to affect lasting change.

Iain Hurst - North Yorkshire

Iain manages Rosemount Farm, a productive arable farm nestled in the Yorkshire Wolds near the village of Weaverthorpe.

The chalk soil farm grows a mix of crops including winter wheat, malting barley, oilseed rape, vining peas and potatoes. Rosemount Farm is overwhelming in terms of numbers and range of species on the farm, all there due to the careful dedication and environmental management by Iain over a number of years.

Grey partridges, corn buntings, lapwings, curlews and skylarks all thrive on the farm through Iain’s blend of higher level stewardship options and voluntary habitat creation. Brown hares, bees and butterflies, such as marbled whites, all find home in the chalk dale grassland Iain is restoring.

2012 Regional winner Iain Hurst

David and Morag Miller - Caithness

This beef and sheep farm near Thurso is managed with both wildlife and food having equal priority.

Alongside careful grazing, agri-environment schemes help David and Morag create and restore the key habitats on the farm. These include species-rich grassland, wetlands, moorland and broadleaved woodland.

The wildlife includes lapwings, barn owls and otters, as well as many plant, butterfly and moth species. The Millers promote their ethos to the community, especially schools and colleges, by producing information leaflets and interpretation boards.

The Millers say: 'We have increased the public access by creating a network of more than 2km of pathways allowing all those interested in the environment to experience and enjoy this special place'.

2012 Regional Winners David and Morag Miller