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    • Discounted RSPB handbooks

      15th Aug 2018
      Kathryn Smith from the RSPB tells us about a range of management handbooks available at discounted prices....... We have advisors who speak to hundreds of land managers every year, supporting them in managing their land sympathetically. But did you know that there is also a wide range of land management handbooks available from the ...Read More...

      HOS 2017 Corn Bunting Survey

      1st Aug 2018
      Keith Betton, Hampshire County Bird Recorder, reports on a Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) corn bunting survey undertaken in the county last year...   The Corn Bunting is a farmland specialist of national priority for conservation bodies and on a local scale the species was included in Hampshire’s Biodiversity Action Plan for se...Read More...

      Sussex Study 2017 Grey Partridge autumn counts

      2nd Mar 2018
      Dr Julie Ewald, Head of GIS for the GWCT, gives an update on the 2017 autumn grey partridge counts in the Sussex Study area. The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Sussex Study has monitored the cereal ecosystem on the South Downs from Arundel in the west to Worthing in the east since 1970, investigating declines in numbers of grey partr...Read More...

      Big Farmland Bird Count on the Wiston Estate

      20th Feb 2018
      Last week (9th – 18th February) saw the fifth year of the Game and Wildlife Trust’s (GWCT) annual Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC).  To take part, farmers and gamekeepers up and down the county undertook 30 minute bird counts on up to 2ha of farmland.  There were no stipulations as to where the counts should take place, but it w...Read More...

      Talking lapwings with the Selborne Landscape Partnership

      13th Feb 2018
      RSPB Farm Conservation Advisor, Bruce Fowkes, tells us about a recent event with the Selborne Landscape Partnership looking at management for lapwings....   Despite freezing cold conditions and an even colder wind, a group of enthusiastic farmers and advisors from the Selborne Landscape Partnership gathered at the Rotherfield Estate on Frida...Read More...

      Changes to EFA requirements in 2018 BPS

      8th Feb 2018
      From 1st January 2018, some significant changes will be made to Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirements that form part of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).  This includes a ban on the use of pesticides (defined as plant protection products including: seed treatments, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, desiccants and plant growth regulators) ...Read More...

      New Countryside Stewardship Scheme 'Offers'

      30th Jan 2018
      New in 2018, four new Countryside Stewardship (CS) offers will be introduced for farmers and land managers to boost biodiversity and help protect and enhance farmland and the countryside.  Significant improvements have been made to the scheme to make it simpler and easier for farmers and land managers to apply. Pollen and nectar plots are a...Read More...

      South Downs Lapwings in 2017

      24th Jan 2018
      Caroline French, RSPB Conservation Monitoring Officer, gives an update on the SDFBI Lapwing Project As previously noted on this blog, lapwing populations are declining and sadly this much-loved bird of open landscapes is now red listed. On arable land, research points to poor chick survival as the main driver of decline, with insufficient inverteb...Read More...

      A Seasonal Serenade

      18th Jan 2018
      Following on from the publication of the 2017 SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project results, volunteer surveyor Alexi Francis shares the sights and sounds of a typical morning survey... There are highlights to every walk and my transect for the SDFBI is no exception. On a May morning I walk the path beside Lag Wood just south of Hassocks to reach the star...Read More...

      2017 SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project results are go!

      12th Jan 2018
      Following many hours of survey work across the South Downs last spring and summer, we now have the results from the 2017 SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project.  This represents the fourth year of the survey, which is building a valuable picture of how priority bird species are faring across the South Downs National Park. Maps have been prepared that ...Read More...

      Nature Friendly Farming Network launches today

      5th Jan 2018
      Today sees the launch of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) at the Real Oxford Farming Conference.  A group of over 100 farmers are launching the network, providing a vision for the future of British Agriculture post Brexit. The independent organisation, chaired by Martin Lines who runs a family farm in Cambridgeshire, is calling on t...Read More...

      Working with our non-farming neighbours

      6th Dec 2017
      The Eastern South Downs Farmer Cluster recently ran an event entitled 'Working with our non-farming neighbours'. Cluster Facilitator, Anthony Weston, provides an update from the day........ The group met at Saddlescombe Farm for a farm walk kindly hosted and lead by Camilla and Roly Puzey. It was great to have a number of farmers and grazi...Read More...

      Arun Valley waders - the 2017 results

      24th Nov 2017
      Rising in the Weald, bisecting the South Downs between Bury and Arundel, and then entering the sea at Littlehampton, the Arun Valley is a hotspot for breeding waders in the South East.  Much of the lower part of the valley south of Pulborough is designated as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA)...Read More...

      Lapwing success in the Arun Valley

      24th Aug 2017
      Now in its third year, the Arun to Adur Farmers Group has several projects underway to improve and enhance the wildlife, cultural and historic value of the project area.  One such project is a breeding wader survey in the Arun Valley that started this spring.  The overall aim is assess how birds such as lapwing and redshank are faring, an...Read More...

      Farm opens it gates to the public

      27th Jun 2017
      How many members of the public can explain in any detail how a crop of wheat is grown to produce a loaf of bread, or how a lamb is produced that ends up on their plate for a Sunday roast?  Not many I would suggest! It seems that in this age of convenience, consumers are well removed from where their food comes from.  But why should people...Read More...

      Arun to Adur Farm Cluster event - Sunday 25th June

      20th Jun 2017
      On Sunday 25th June, Lee Farm on the Angmering Park Estate is opening it's doors to the public to demonstrate life on a working farm.  Lee Farm is part of the Arun to Adur Farmers Group, a landscape scale project where farmers are working together to benefit wildlife and the environment. During the day there will be sheep dog trails, shee...Read More...

      SDFBI 2016 survey results are in

      30th Nov 2016
      2016 saw the third year of the SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project.  This year 75 volunteers surveyed 118 1km grid squares across the South Downs National Park.  Full results can be found on our website here, and the infographic below lists some of the key facts and figures....Read More...

      SDFBI volunteer thank you event

      21st Sep 2016
      We started the SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project in 2014 to collect data that would show us how farmland birds are faring across the South Downs.  The idea was to provide a much more meaningful measure of conservation success for our local area compared to the Regional Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) datasets. Three years on and the project is still g...Read More...

      2016 South Downs Lapwing Survey results

      25th Aug 2016
      It’s been a while since our last update on the SDFBI Lapwing Project, and the breeding season has now ended for another year.  This year’s fieldwork has provided lots of useful data, although unfortunately results were not great. Wet, windy and cold weather through large parts of April and May weren’t conducive to good lapwi...Read More...

      B-Line update

      1st Jul 2016
      Paul Evans from Buglife provides an update on the B-Line project Hi everyone I am very pleased to send you all the latest B-Lines Update, which provides a brief summary of our work over the past few months.  This update summarises work across the country as we continue to expand and develop our B-Lines work . In addition it highlights the im...Read More...