A Cumbrian farmer has been recognised by the farming and conservation industry for his outstanding efforts to promote good habitat and environmental management on his farm. James Robinson was awarded the highly-coveted ‘Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group National Silver Lapwing Award’, which is now in its 43rd year. Strickley Farm in Kendal, Cumbria, was awarded from a national shortlist of five farms, each selected for demonstrating outstanding commitment to good environmental practices, alongside running successful farm businesses.

Finalists and judges for 2022. From Left: Julia & Chris Butterfield, North Lodge Farm - Finalists. James Robinson, Strickley Farm - 2022 Winner, Robert Jackson, Manor Farm - Runner Up, Matt Doggett, Manor Farm - Runner Up, Chris Bulter, Judge and Jim Egan, Judge.


After a two-year halt, organisers were thrilled to be able to hold the celebrations this year, which took place on Tuesday 5th July at Hole Farm in Norfolk. Chris Butler, Chair of the FWAG Association welcomed guests, before host Charles Inglis, farmer at Hole Farm who was awarded the Silver Lapwing in 2019, introduced guests to the farm and highlighted the extensive restorative work Charles and Airlie have undertaken alongside parents-in-law Robin and Rose Carver, who originally bought the 668 acre Norfolk prairie farm in 1982. The farm has now been transformed and is now teaming with wildlife, having been planted with 9 miles of hedgerows, 60 acres of new woodland, 14 ponds and scraps and 56 acres of environmental margins. After a delicious lunch of local Cromer crab and venison, the Silver Lapwing 2022 presentations took place.


During Hole Farm, farm walk the 2019 winners and host farm for the 2022 awards. 


The 2022 FWAG Silver Lapwing Award was presented to James Robinson, Strickley, Kendal, Cumbria by Silver Lapwing Judges Martin Hole, Farmer and representatives from Kings Crops: Jim Egan, Midlands Technical Advisor and Richard Barnes, Sales Manager. Kings Crops is the specialist crops and environmental land management team at Frontier Agriculture, the award’s lead sponsor.


Winning speech by James Robinson, Strickley Farm 


Strickley Farm is made up of 300 acres of organic land, 250 pedigree dairy shorthorns, meadows filled with over a hundred different species of flowers, grasses and herbs and becks homing many species including the threatened white clawed crayfish. The farm is run by James alongside his father Henry and son Robert and hosts local school visits for children and other community engagement.

The 2022 award is generously sponsored by lead supporter, Frontier Agriculture, the UK's leading crop production and grain marketing business, recognised for its close customer relationships with farmers and grain consumers and its successful management of the arable supply chain. The 2022 award was also supported by Agrii, leading provider of agronomy services, technology and strategic advice. Ashtons Legal were additional supporters of the event. Beer was kindly provided by Wild Craft Brewery, Norfolk. The FWAG Association is very grateful to have the support of these organisations.


 Judges Chris Butler and Jim Egan stand either side of James Robinson the 2022 Silver Lapwing Winner


The judges commented that the competition was incredibly high this year and for only the second time in Silver Lapwing history, the judges awarded two equal runners-up; Robert and Lynne Jackson, Manor Farm, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Matt Doggett, Manor Farm, Barley, Royston.

Around 80 invited guests from all sectors of the British farming and agriculture industry attended the celebrations. The day concluded in a farm walk and tour of Hole Farm, showcasing some of the reasons why Charles and Airlie Inglis were presented with the Silver Lapwing Award in 2019. The sun shone as guests walked, talked and were treated to the sights and sounds of Hole Farm.


During Hole Farm, farm walk the 2019 winners and host farm for the 2022 awards. 


James Robinson, Farmer at Hole Farm, Winner of the Silver Lapwing Award 2022:

"Being awarded the Silver Lapwing Trophy is a real honour for myself and my family. It all started with my great grandad, when he took over the farm at Strickley, and then my dad and grandad in the 80’s who foresaw the future of farming. They rejuvenated hedges, and we have just grown from there. We are making changes now for future generations. This is one of the proudest days of my life."


About the FWAG Association

The national FWAG Association represents local Farming & Wildlife Advisory Groups (FWAGs) across the UK in partnership with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and LEAF. These groups have helped British farmers for over five decades, providing trusted, independent, environmental advice. www.fwag.org.uk


About the 2022 Winner

James Robinson, Strickley, Kendal, Cumbria

James and his family farm three hundred acres of organic land a few miles east of Kendal, south Cumbria. James, who is the vice chair of the Nature Friendly Farming England steering group, is the fifth generation of Robinsons to farm there and does so with his father Henry and son Robert. The farm is made up of a mix of pasture and meadow land, interspersed with a diverse range of wildlife habitats. Seven miles of ancient hedgerows are managed in a traditional 20 year rotation of hedgelaying, hundreds of metres of drystone walls have been rebuilt to ensure their long-term survival. Becks have been fenced off to exclude livestock, with a solar powered water trough system installed to supply the farm’s 250 pedigree dairy shorthorns with drinking water. Numerous ponds and scrapes have been created and hundreds of metres of beck re-naturalised, together with a rare wet woodland area.

Species rich hay meadows, filled with over one hundred different species of flowers, grasses and herbs, are filled with invertebrates and bird song. The Becks which run the length of the farm are home to the threatened white clawed crayfish, white water-crowfoot, dippers, kingfisher and otter, all of which are thriving in clean well oxygenated water. Local schools visit the farm to learn about food production and how farming can be at the forefront of biodiversity gain and fighting climate change.

About the two 2019 Runners-Up

Robert and Lynne Jackson, Manor Farm, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Manor Farm has been in the family since 1899, now on the 4th generation. The farm is 195 hectares with 100 Simmental x Angus single suckler herd, 200 ewes Suffolk x Texel, and arable 70 hectares wheat, winter barley, OSR, spring barley and oats.

The farm was one of the first in the Cotswold Environmental Sensitive Area Scheme where ponds were restored and created, hedges and trees planted, stone walls repaired, arable reverted to grassland and is now in ELS, HLS. This has allowed margins round all arable fields, skylark plots, fallow for weeds, lapwing area, reversion of grassland to traditional meadow, conservation headlands, pollen and nectar mix and bird feed crops, more recently winter bird feeding with home mixed seed.

High populations of skylarks, yellow hammers and corn buntings breeding have been recorded. Natural flood management of the River Coln is practiced and native crayfish have been seen.


Matt Doggett, Manor Farm, Barley, Royston
A 375ha arable farm on a chalky outcrop in north Hertfordshire. The farm has a wide rotation of wheat, spring barley, oats, linseed, peas, beans, and sugar beet, as well as 60 hectares of cover crops, 120 hectares of catch crops and 5 hectares of grazing paddocks and old permanent pasture. The farm has 10 hectares of woodland, 6 hectares of which Matt has planted during his time on the farm.

Over the years Matt has continued to increase what he delivers for wildlife. Under a Higher-Level Stewardship scheme, he has put over 10% of land into conservation areas including bird food plots, fallow areas for ground nesting birds, unharvested conservation headlands, supplementary feeding, wildflower areas, pollen and nectar mixtures, buffer strips and cultivated areas for rare arable plants. Through a joint venture with two neighbouring farms, he shares machinery and has reduced his inputs and carbon footprint. Matt is always driven to do more from adding to and managing areas differently, to moving to more regenerative farming techniques including direct drilling and cover cropping. The farm has been involved in numerous trials looking at cover cropping and clover understoreys and is now looking to experiment with wheat blends to reduce its fungicide usage.

About the two Finalists for 2022

David and Christina Trant, Maesmawr Hall, Powys, Wales
David and Christina Trant have a 670 acre upland farm in Montgomeryshire. The farm runs from 500 - 900ft and has been in environmental schemes since 2005. It is stocked with Stabiliser cattle and Romney sheep. The farm has 20 deciduous woods, totalling 100 acres, and 9 ponds.

Fodder beet and swedes are grown for outwintering sheep as well as 30 acres of cover crops for a shoot. High sugar grasses are used in reseeding. Surface and direct drilling are mostly used for crop establishment. David and Christina have planted 1300m of new hedges and we have carried out 3000m of hedge restoration and 1500m of streamside corridors. They have lots of wildlife including pearl bordered fritillary butterflies and hedgehogs as well as listed buildings and a SAM Hill Fort. Additional energy is provided by biomass and solar panels.


Chris and Julia Butterfield, North Lodge Farm, Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire
North Lodge is an attractive 1,000 acre arable/mixed-use farm in south Nottinghamshire. Home to Chris & Julia and two of their three married children and families. Land management involves economic, environmental and recreational sustainability, with two-thirds cultivated in a combinable crop rotation and one-third environmental choices and permanent grass.

North Lodge practices precision farming to minimise environmental impact - minimum tillage, reactive soil testing, GPS variable input and yield mapping, remote soil and plant sensing pilot as well as bio-mass heating and solar PV power. Previously in ELS & HLS Stewardship and now CS Mid Tier. On the farm there are cattle, sheep and alpaca livestock, as well as beekeeper hives and local barn owl project. Income diversification includes modern 40 horse DIY livery yard. 30,000 trees/hedgerow whips planted, 25 acres of wild bird/flower mixes, 50 acres of new/managed woodlands, new ponds and scrapes. Family shoot (game stock reared from eggs) run by experienced gamekeeper delivers excellent habitat, abundant farmland birds from overwinter feeding and responsible predator control. Purdey Award winner for outstanding game and habitat management. NFU Environmental Award. The farm hosts assorted competition trials, adult & children/school farm walks and charity events. The Estate employs six full time non-family staff contributing to and guided by a documented Whole Estate Management Plan.


Sponsored by: Frontier Agriculture, Agrii, Ashtons Legal, Kings and SOYL. 


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