2013 Winner Nicholas Watts

Nicholas Watts

Nicholas is our well deserved winner for 2013!

Nicholas Watts - Lincolnshire

Judge's view

"Another farm making a difference in an area renowned for intensive agriculture, through targeting improved habitats for rapidly declining species such as turtle doves. The farmer has an impressive awareness of both carbon and water use in his business and has convinced the local drainage board to enhance habitats across the wider landscape."

- Fergus Collins, Editor, Countryfile

Summary

Nicholas bases management for wildlife on one fundamental principle - evidence. Since 1982, he's kept detailed records of the wildlife of the farm - tracking both positive and negative changes.

In doing so he's been able to tailor his farmland management, ensuring the best possible results for farm wildlife. His farm includes insect-rich meadows and nectar flower mixtures, arable plants flourishing in cultivated strips and seed rich habitats from sacrificial cereal crops for birds.

Nicholas has a passion to create the right habitat, at the right scale, in the right location for a range of wildlife. As an example, he's created a wildflower meadow on an ex-mineral extraction site with some great plants for butterflies and other pollinating insects. Common spotted orchid, viper’s bugloss, yellow rattle, greater burnet, yellow loosestrife and ox-eye daisy are amongst the many plants species found on Nicholas' farm.

Farmer's view

"It was in 1982 when I started recording the breeding birds on my farm but I didn’t realise just how fast they were declining until 1992, and this really worried me. I love farming and I love wildlife – especially the birds, so I just had to start reversing that decline on my farm."