The Green family have been custodians of the beautiful land in Chesterblade on the edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset for at least seven generations. Today, Ed and his wife Anna, together with the rest of the Chesterblade Hills team, manage the land with the mission statement Where People and the Natural World can Flourish Together.
To address the challenges of climate change and natural habitat loss, the three main guiding principles of this mission statement are to:
Across the 730 acres, a third of the farm is dedicated to calcareous grassland, copse and scrub conservation, a third consists of herbal grasslands, and a third comprises cropping using regenerative farming principles. Harvested crops and grasses are conserved on farm and sold off farm to supply an anaerobic digestion plant producing green energy. All the land is dedicated to one of three schemes: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Countryside Stewardship or a 200 acre England Woodland Creation Offer natural regeneration woodland creation project. We are also partnering with The Woodland Carbon Code on this project. New native hedgerows and small areas of native broadleaf woodland have also been planted to add to the mosaic.
Elsewhere, the longer vegetation since destocking cattle from the fields has given rise to more small mammals that in turn have brought the arrival of more birds of prey such as red kite, buzzards, kestrels, sparrow hawks and barn owls. The long vegetation has increased numbers of insects and invertebrates, attracting more small birds to eat the insects and seed heads. Clouds of butterflies and moths can also be witnessed in the summer meadows.
To monitor and survey these habitats, expert animal and plant species groups routinely visit the farm to record the changes that are happening. Over 200 species of plants have been recorded so far and a series of new arrival insects, amphibians, birds and mammals. Sightings are recorded onto the iNaturalist app and uploaded to the Somerset Environment Record Centre.
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