Leading UK conservation science charity the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) recently invited BBC Countryfile to visit three farms on the Hampshire/Dorset border to see farmer-led conservation in action. The Countryfile episode will be broadcast at 6pm on Sunday 9 May.
The farms which hosted the BBC team are part of the Martin Down ‘Supercluster’ – a unique collaboration of three ‘Farmer Clusters’ made up of 46 farms which together cover 236km2 of the Cranborne Chase area of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, surrounding the famous wildlife-rich Martin Down National Nature Reserve.
Farmer Clusters are groups of neighbouring farmers who work together to deliver benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale. They are supported by an advisor/facilitator but set their own agenda and conservation priorities. More than 150 farmer clusters have now been established in the UK.
The Martin Down farmers showcased the farmer cluster concept and some of their many conservation achievements for the Countryfile cameras. Lead Farmer, Tim Palmer, explained:
“We were delighted to welcome Countryfile to hear about what we’ve been working on at Martin Down with our facilitator, the GWCT’s Jess Brooks. Thanks to the farmers’ own commitment and enthusiasm, it is amazing what we have achieved in four short years. Presenter Ellie Har