In late June, Gloucestershire FWAG members were treated to a tour of Manor Farm, Sevenhampton, winners of the 2018 Silver Pintail award. 

Robert and Lynne Jackson own Manor Farm, comprising approximately 500 acres of combinable crops, grassland and woodland. The farm also showcases recreated Cotswold limestone grassland, wild bird mixes and cover, field margins, dew ponds, rainwater harvesting, and many other measures that benefit wildlife. We were lucky enough to be treated to a trailer ride around the farm, stopping at various notable locations for Robert and Lynne to explain their management practises and giving us all a chance to admire the farm.


Firstly, Robert introduced the concept of natural flood management and explained the work he has done on pond restoration and fencing to help with water storage and to prevent erosion of the stream banks by cattle. Bel Whitwam (Senior Farm Advisor, FWAG) explained how this fitted into the wider context of the Upper Coln NFM project and the work the project is doing to mitigate against flooding in Andoversford. Joanne Leigh (Farm Advisor, FWAG) also spoke about ash dieback, which is affecting many farms in the Cotswolds, and veteran tree management while we admired some of the veteran trees on field boundaries. As well as managing their veteran trees, Robert and Lynne leave plenty of standing deadwood in field boundaries to encourage thriving populations of invertebrates and provide perching posts for birds of prey.  


Much of the work for wildlife and the environment on the farm has been completed under agri-environment schemes over the last 3 decades. Jenny Phelps (Senior Farm Advisor, FWAG) spoke about plans for the new Environmental Land Management schemes that will help farmers to continue this work after Brexit. Lastly, Robert introduced the limestone grassland areas of the farm, brimming with calcareous grassland species. Harvey Sherwood (Cotswolds AONB) spoke about the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project, that Robert and Lynne are providing wildflower seed for. 

This was followed by tea and coffee, sandwiches and cake to warm us all up, after the beautiful June weather took a downturn, sadly obscuring the beautiful views across the Cotswolds usually enjoyed on the farm. A big thank you to Robert and Lynne for a lovely evening! 


Pictures of the walk courtesy of Patrick Dreyer