[DCV] Consultation in lieu of AGM

Richard Meatyard richardmeatyard at outlook.com
Fri Aug 28 15:15:02 BST 2020


Hi All

In the news recently has been the purchase by Countryside Restoration Trust of Bere Marsh Farm in Dorset.   I thought the name sounded familiar, Don and I passed through their land on a recent walk on the Trailway near Shillingstone.   CRT's aims are to purchase farmland and woodland where traditional farming methods, wildlife habitat and biodiversity are under threat, creating a working countryside using sensitive and sympathetic farming practices that encourage and protect wildlife and produce high-quality produce.     It's an interesting concept, an attempt to create traditional and diverse farming which thrives but also encourages nature to thrive.     They are a registered charity and I would like to suggest that consideration is given to their cause and that perhaps 1/   our annual donation be awarded to them (are we still making a donation to a charity or would free tasks be that donation?)   and 2/ that perhaps an approach might be made to see if DCV can do any work with them.
All I know of CRT is what I've read in the news and on their website - perhaps Doug has more information regarding their activities.  Their website is Countryside Restoration Trust   

Below is a precis of their remit.  The project sounds interesting and worthwhile and I thought I'd bring it to your attention.   This is my suggestion - Butterfly Conservation still remains Don's suggestion . . . .

We are both in favour of free tasks, restricted as has been specified.


Val


Countryside Restoration Trust

Bere Marsh Farm, Dorset

CRT vision -

initial aim - to buy intensively farmed land with declining wildlife numbers to restore to create a living countryside. 
As the Trust has grown, aims broadened to encompass purchasing farmland and woodland where traditional farming methods, wildlife habitat and biodiversity are under threat.
We create a working countryside using sensitive and sympathetic farming practices that encourage and protect wildlife and produce high-quality produce.
CRT farmers pay rent (commercial conservation rates) that’s set at a level to allow them to farm in a wildlife friendly way.
Much like grants from Government or EU conservation schemes, this varies and is dependent on how farmers choose to help nature – whether by reducing fertiliser use, cutting grass-for-hay late in the season, or replenishing livestock at a reduced rate. 
Our farms and properties use a mix of traditional and innovative new methods so wildlife is welcomed, encouraged, and given a new home.
We have many hard-working tenant farmers and a growing number of committed volunteers restoring areas of our land to thriving landscapes where flora and fauna flourish. 
We teach current and future generations about the importance of conserving our natural world and show others how we can all make a positive impact.


On 30 June 2020 we completed the purchase of Bere Marsh Farm, just outside Shillingstone and on the River Stour.  
It is a fantastic farm with a history of hope and conservation. It lies close to the village of Shillingstone. The River Stour runs alongside, and often over it when the floodplain does what floodplains are supposed to do flood. Just beyond is Hambledon Hill, a big chunk of chalk rising to over 600 feet - a place of incredible history, botany and geology.
There is wetland, grassland, woodland. We hope to have a small milking herd of cows, a small flock of Dorset sheep, free-range hens and orchard. It has a trailway, footpaths, a bridleway. To put it in modern parlance, it has a high footfall - a lot of people walk by it and through it.
So, we have the perfect property, but now we need to make it fit for purpose. Until recently it was a working farm and whilst this is important, we want to introduce an Education Centre, Visitor Centre, Conservation Activities, signage, toilets… the list is endless. And it takes time and money. We are not going to rush it as we want to do it right.
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