Worlick Farms is owned by Lord De Ramsey and is a classic fenland farm. Much of the land is highly productive “Black land” whilst other areas have widely varying soil types. Oakbank were approached by Farm Manager David Stokes to look at how the farm might fit into the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. Working with David and Agronomist Paul Drinkwater, we discussed what the objectives were for the farm, what Natural England (NE) were looking for and how this farm could meet these without disrupting the day to day farm business.
Worlick has several neighbours who were already in the HLS Scheme and NE Advisor Nigel Russell was very keen to expand the work that had been so successful there. The Historic records also showed up some important features on the farm that the owners were happy to include in their proposals. There is also a small local syndicate shoot on the farm and they were keen to use the ELS / HLS options to encourage wild game. Diane and Ian worked together to complete the FEP and draw up the agreement in conjunction with farm staff and NE.
Our final draft proposal for the agreement included:
- Arable Reversion to protect archaeological features
- Scrub clearance on a scheduled monument
- Enhanced Over Wintered Stubbles for breeding farmland birds and agronomic reasons
- Buffer Strips to protect watercourses and increase insect numbers (floristically enhanced)
- Wild Bird Seed Mixture
- Nectar Flower Mix
- Floating Reed rafts to enhance irrigation reservoirs
- Reedbed enhancement and recreation for wetland birds
- Recreation of wetland with scrapes for breeding waders
We had a good reception to our proposals from Natural England and we are just waiting to receive their official response. Oakbank are now working on an agreement for another part of the Estate.