Farming in Protected Landscapes projects

Listed below are the projects which have received funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme in the Shropshire Hills.

The funding is aimed at farmers and land managers in England's protected landscapes (AONBs & National Parks), and is for one-off farming projects that can demonstrate benefits to climate, nature, people and place. 

The programme is part of the government's Agricultural Transition Plan which is shifting from direct payments to farmers, to rewarding environmentally-friendly practices and has been extended for a further year, until March 2025. 


national report about the programme 


Scroll down to read summaries of the projects that have been awarded grants in the Shropshire Hills.


Pollardine Farm: Training courses for transition to regenerative agriculture  

Grant of £2,509.50 awarded October 2021, total project value £3,585, 2021-22 

Grant to support landowners attend two training courses on regenerative management.  The courses are a 9-day Holistic Management Comprehensive course, accredited by the Savory Institute, and a Conservation Grazing in Practice, 2-day course, accredited by LANTRA.  The courses are helping the landowners to change their farming practices to regenerate their soil, improve profitability, quality of life, and learn how to use livestock to achieve environmental objectives. Knowledge gained will be shared with other local farmers/landowners.  

Graig Farm: Hedgerow restoration and rotational grazing  

Grant of £18,961.80 awarded October 2021, total project value £18,961.80, 2021-23 

The project will divide a 15 hectare field to enable managed rotational grazing which will improve the grazing management and extend of two Local Wildlife Sites. This will be done by rejuvenating and restoring 440 metres of currently unfenced ancient hedgerow through coppicing, gapping up, hedgerow tree planting and fencing as well as new stock fencing to encourage expansion of the species rich Local Wildlife Sites. 

Powkesmore Farm: Soil improvement  

Grant of £18,840 awarded October 2021, total project value £47,100, 2021-22 

The grant is contributing to the purchase of a direct drill in order to improve the overall soil health across the farm. This will deliver a number of benefits including improved soil structure and health, improved infiltration and drainage, increase in beneficial invertebrates and earthworms, increased soil organic matter, reduced soil erosion and improved carbon sequestration. 

Blackhurst Farm: Highland Beef expansion  

Grant of £24,241 awarded October 2021, total project value £40,402, 2021-22 

The grant is supporting the expansion of the applicant’s Highland/ Shorthorn Beef business, selling meat from animals grazing a wildlife-rich iconic local hill which is part Local Wildlife Site. The animals are left to forage on the heathland ground and rough pasture, maintaining these species rich habitats which include  various species of moss, herbal grasses and wildflowers. The project also includes alterations to an existing farm building to house a cold store, sorting area and customer facing area for collection of beef boxes, the purchase and installation of cold store, kitchen facilities, display refrigerator, and the purchase of a  refrigerated trailer for safe transport of meat to and from the farm, abattoir, butcher and farmers’ markets. 

Bog Farm: Hedgerow creation and water course protection  

Grant of £5,079.84 awarded November 2021, total project value £5,079.84, 2021-22 

This project is creating a 140 metre buffer strip between a brook and grazing land to prevent cattle from damaging the watercourse.  The strip will be planted with species commonly found on riverbanks such as alder, willow, downy birch, hazel and hawthorn. This buffer strip will help to reduce soil erosion and water runoff into the brook and is linking two areas of woodland to improve habitat connectivity.  A pasture pump is also being installed to provide water for the cattle, and a hedge is being restored to create a wildlife corridor, linking woodland to another hedgerow and area of woodland.

Tregodfa: Hedgerow restoration

Grant of £5,424.60 awarded November 2021, total project value £5,424.60, 2021-22 

This project is reinstating a hedgerow network on a small upland farm. The restoration includes laying, coppicing and gapping up the hedge, as well as planting new hedgerow trees.  The hedges will be fenced to protect new growth and to encourage regeneration of ground vegetation.  Hedgerows have benefits for wildlife and also act as barriers to reduce soil erosion and water runoff.  Historically, hedgerows were a key feature of upland farms, dividing the land into small fields and this project seeks to enhance this key feature of the Shropshire Hills landscape.

new hedge planting and fencing on farm

new fencing and hedge restoration on the farm

Recovery and restoration of area of River Clun

Lawn Farm, Craven Arms, AJ & AC Whitehead

Grant of £28,453.80, December 2021 - March 2024, total project value £32,503.80 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

The grant is supporting woodland and hedgerow habitat restoration. Riparian (river) woodland will be enhanced by carrying out tree surgery on diseased, leaning or fallen trees and by replanting the riverbank with suitable trees as needed. The area (0.4 hectares) will be stock fenced to allow a wide riparian woodland corridor to establish.  Historic hedge-lines will be restored by coppicing, planting up gaps and fencing to create valuable wildlife corridors across the farm.  

photograph of hedge laying and fencing on farm

Lower Treverward: Fencing to protect valuable habitat  

Grant of £3,733.80 awarded November 2021, total project value £3,733.80, 2021-22 

The project will erect 762 metres of protective livestock fencing to safeguard newly layed hedges from livestock damage. The hedges will provide vital habitat for local birds/wildlife and insects, ensuring a greater area of wildlife rich habitat. The fencing will be spaced 1.5 metres from the centre of the hedge to allow hedges to grow up to 3 metres wide, ensuring a strong, thick hedge to provide essential wildlife corridors and to act as carbon sinks, reducing soil erosion and improving the visual character of the area.  

Westhope Estate: Enhancing existing woodland and creating new  

Grant of £27,126.04 awarded November 2021, total project value £36,801.04, 2021-24 

The project is removing mature laurel and replanting with native species which will be managed as coppice with standards. Other areas of the woodland will be thinned to increase light levels and encourage a range of woodland ground flora. A second area of woodland will be restored and managed as a wet woodland. The existing Poplar plantation and invasive Himalayan balsam will be cleared, and the area will be planted and managed to increase native wet woodland species.  A woodland corridor will also be planted to improve connectivity between the two woodlands. The newly planted areas will be protected from grazing and managed as short and long rotation coppice to encourage the succession of scrub species.  The work is being supported by volunteers from a local wildlife group. 

Stag’s Head: Field barn repair  

Grant of £7,074.50 awarded November 2021, total project value £8,792.50, 2022-23 

The grant is to repair a 19th century field barn/shelter in a field which is being managed for long-term conservation.  The building is present on the Shropshire Historic Environmental Record as an ‘unnamed field barn’ of post-Medieval date.  Built with local mudstone and a simple internal timber structure the building is typical of field shelters in the Clun Forest.  The barn will be used to provide shelter at public events and for storing woodland/coppice products from the site.  A local builder is being employed to do the repairs using local materials.    

repairs being made to barn

Corfield Farm: River and pond restoration  

Grant of £13,918, November 2021 - March 2023, total project value £16,918

This project will enhance ongoing river restoration work along the River Corve by adding riparian fencing to exclude livestock and repairing a large redundant Victorian fish pool on the farm.  Electric fence posts will be installed rather than a permanent fence which is likely to be washed away in floods.  New hedges will be planted along existing field boundaries, standard hedgerow trees will be allowed to grow from planted hedge stock, and stand alone in-field trees will be planted to improve the landscape character and provide shade for livestock.  The hedgerows will help to slow down floodplain flows reducing downstream floods and improving water quality. The fish pool will be restored by repairing the breached bund and sculpting the ground levels, incorporating a reedbed to create additional wetland habitat on the farm and complimenting the river restoration habitats.  

Causeway Wood: Ecological feasibility study  

Grant of £4,778.40, November 2021 - March 2023, total project value £4,778.40

The grant is funding a feasibility study to assess the farm’s proposal to create a number of new pond / pool areas to hold back flood water and enhance the local environment.  The shallow standing water / bog areas will improve habitat and increasing biodiversity in the wider landscape. The feasibility study will identify the best locations for scrapes / wetland / pool areas, advise on how to create them and the benefits to the farm and surrounding area. The grant is also supporting hedge restoration work, including coppicing and gapping up to create a wildlife corridor between two areas of existing woodland on the farm. 

Little Hobarris: New broadleaf woodland  

Grant £4,370.20, total project value £4,370.20, 2021-22 

The grant will support the planting of 645 native species trees within three strips of land amounting to 4,065 square metres. The strips will be end-to-end and form a belt across three fields.  The project will deliver new broadleaved woodland comprising as wide a variety of native species as possible, taking into account the site’s characteristics (eg soil, topography, prevailing wind). The new woodland will be good for carbon sequestration and enhance the character of the landscape as a significant percentage of the broadleaf trees in the valley below the planting site are ash (with dieback evident in many of them) so the new planting will help to offset the eventual losses. 

Hill View: Wildlife pond and hedge restoration  

Grant of £4,868, December 2021 - March 2023, total project value £10,508

The project is creating two ponds/wetland areas and scrapes to increase connectivity with local streams and wetlands.  The ponds will provide additional habitats, helping to safeguard endangered species such as the great crested newt. They will also act as surface water storage to reduce flooding in winter of adjacent fields and a lane.  The project is also restoring 150 metres of hedge by laying, coppicing and gapping up, creating connectivity between habitats, and helping to reduce soil erosion and water runoff.  These activities help to offset habitat losses from a local housing development on a greenfield site, and bring both ecological and hydrological benefits to the local landscape. 

Llanfair Hall: hedge improvements 

Grant of £4,245 awarded March 2022, total project value £4,245 

This is a small project to restore an overgrown mature planted hedge which connects to several other hedges and will improve connectivity between two large ancient semi-natural woodlands.

It’s part of a larger long-term project to deliver increased habitat connectivity between Llanfair Hall Wood (over 17 hectares) and the Long Wood (8.5 hectares).  

photograph of a new footbridge on the farm

Morrell's Wood Farm: improving visitor and educational access to the farm

Grant of £19,159 awarded June 2022, total project value £30,179  

The project is improving facilities on the farm to increase the number of educational visits made each year from children from deprived areas. The farm currently welcomes 25-30 group visits by adults and children of all backgrounds to engage with the countryside and learn about the environment and farming in a sustainable way. The funding will improve parking for buses, access around the farm and provide outdoor teaching facilities. The project is also planting native broadleaf trees such as oak, birch and hazel to expand an existing ancient woodland, and creating a 2.5km permissive path, which links to the existing footpath network. Small interpretation panels and an audio guide will explain the farming calendar, describe the landscape and how the farm is managed to support nature and wildlife.  

Cow Hall: Enhance biodiversity habitats and connectivity through new hedge planting, hedge protection and habitat boxes 

Grant of £3,434.80 awarded March 2022, total project value £3,434.80 

A small project to plant 167 metres of new hedge along an existing fence-line, install two owl boxes in locations known to be used by barn owls and two bat boxes close to water courses.  This is the start of a wider project to improve resilience in the face of the changing climate, by increasing both the biodiversity on the farm and ability of the land to store more carbon, and at the same time increase efficiencies and enhance safety within the business. The new hedgerow will be protected from the grazing sheep and cattle by new fencing. 

Gibbons Corner Wood: Ancient Woodland Coppice Restoration

Grant of £10,654.16 awarded July 2022, total project value £11,461.40 

Gibbons Coppice is a 28-hectare Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland to the west of the Wrekin and Gibbons Corner Wood is 2.7 hectares of this larger woodland. The grant is supporting coppice restoration on this hard to access site which includes felling 7 large trees, scrub control and the removal of smaller trees.  The logs will be extracted either by portable winch or by horse loggers.  500 young hazel trees will be planted, and 260 metres of temporary deer fencing erected to ensure successful regrowth of the old coppice and establishment of the young plants. The extracted timber will be used to demonstrate green woodworking and pole lathe turning to create carved or turned domestic woodenware and Windsor chairs, beanpoles, hedging stakes and binders.

Linley Farm: Controlled Biological Composting

Grant of £26,477.20 awarded July 2022, total project value £66,193 

The grant is supporting a new farm-scale composting operation using the method of Controlled Microbial Composting. This method focuses on providing optimal conditions for creation of a microbially rich compost that will dramatically increase the health of the farm soils. The project plans to transform the farm’s green waste, manure, woodchip, spoiled straw and food waste into microbially active compost that builds carbon in the soil, holds and cycles nitrogen, increases crucial soil biology, increasing soil fertility and structure, improving water holding and cycling, farm biodiversity, and crop nutrition. The project estimates up to 400 tonnes of finished compost could be made per year, although the first few years may produce 100-200 tonnes. The volume of raw material used is approximately one third more than that.  

Accessible animal housing and tiny homes for farm glamping diversification

Lower Bush Farm, Ludlow, Lower Bush Farm CIC

Grant of £79,931.85, July 2022 - March 2024, total project value £143,907.48 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Lower Buch is a not-for-profit Care Farm which welcomes people of all abilities.  The grant is supporting the construction of 6 purpose-built animal enclosures and up to 5 camping pods. The animal housing will be accessible for those with special educational needs and disabilities.  Pathways and tracks are also being improved for easy access. The funding is also supporting the construction of camping pods, made from locally sourced logs which will be milled onsite minimising carbon outputs. The farm camping ethos is to promote low resource-use activities such as walking, cycling and horse riding using the Jack Mytton Bridleway and Shropshire Way footpath which both pass the farm.

Black Hall Farm: Protection of Historic Monument and headwater tributaries

Grant of £58,515.38 awarded July 2022, total project value £72,957.10

This project has two strands. The first is to protect the section of Offa’s Dyke which runs through the farm by carefully removing conifer trees wrongly planted on the Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1981. Offa's Dyke is one of the longest earthworks in Britain, built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century.  New fencing will also protect the monument from grazing animals and ploughing. The funding is also supporting significant improvements to the farm’s water supply infrastructure.  7 solar pump units are being installed to deliver drinking water through underground pipes via storage tanks and into troughs for cattle and sheep on 140 hectares of upland plateau land. This will allow headwater streams of the River Teme and of the River Redlake to be fenced on the farm, protecting them from poaching and erosion, and improving the water quality.

press release about project

Pool House Farm: Silvopasture Agroforestry research and demonstration site

Grant of £11,243.96  awarded July 2022, total project value £12,366.80 

Silvopasture agroforestry is the intentional integration of trees, foraged plants and livestock.  This is a demo project to promote research and shareable practical experience about which perennial, low input / regenerative food growing systems can work best for farmers in the River Clun catchment and wider area.  The project will plant 1 hectare of Silvopasture lanes; 250 metre rows of fruit tree, berry, animal fodder and nitrogen fixing trees and understorey shrubs.  The rows are planted with 12 metre wide grass strips inbetween, to allow regenerative agriculture practices of grazing and hay making.  The project aims to gain a better understanding of agroforestry systems and species that work in the AONB’s climate and soil, and market conditions.  It is hoped that this knowledge will help to develop a larger project later in the year.  

Ashgrove Farm:  Orchard creation and species rich grassland restoration

Grant of £4,139.60 awarded July 2022, total project value £4,392.61

The grant is supporting the planting of a new traditional orchard and restoring an area (3.63 hectares) of species rich grassland on the farm. The project will also carry out a whole farm botanical survey to inform future land management and identify areas of greatest species diversity which can become donor site for hay strewing, if appropriate.  The orchard will be planted with 20-25 local varieties and local provenance trees. Locally sourced green hay or seed will be used to help restore the grassland.  The farm is in the Stepping Stones Project Area and is an important 'stepping stone', in terms of improving and creating habitat connectivity between the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones.  This project will increase the area available for wildlife, attracting invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

Stepping Stones: Upper Onny Farmers Group visit to James Rebanks, Cumbria

Grant of £3,424.05 awarded October 2022, total project value £4,825.95 

The Stepping Stones Project is working with the Upper Onny Farmers Group to explore ways of delivering environmental benefits through regenerative farming practices whilst maintaining a viable farming business. The grant will subsidise an overnight visit to discuss farming practices with inspirational livestock farmer, James Rebanks. He will talk about his thinking, decisions and practices in grassland management and the benefits of farming with species rich grassland, wooded corridors, as well as his approach to soil and water management on the farm. Discussion will include the opportunities and challenges of transitioning from ‘traditional’ to ‘regenerative’ farming, and how this approach has benefited the farm business, the economics of faming this way and its sustainability.

Habitat creation and restoration, a study on Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts, and contour mapping for future landscape design

Pollardine Farm, Pontesbury, Pollardine Farm Partnership

Grant of £23,057.28, November 2022 - March 2024, total project value £28,770.34 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Installing temporary electric fencing to protect 357 metres of watercourse from grazing animals. A 20-metre buffer strip will allow riparian corridors to develop to improve water quality (less run-off) and help to slow the flow.  6.45 hectares of wood pasture will be created using self-set young trees from the farm.  Temporary electric fencing and mobile water troughs across 169 hectares will create smaller paddocks to prevent overgrazing (allowing plants to fully regrow before they are re-grazed) and compaction, and to increase the density and diversity of the sward through management of animal impact.  72 nest boxes will be installed across the farm to study Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts, and a digital map showing 1-5m contours of the land will be produced to base decisions about future land-use design on the topography of the land, ensuring the farm business works with the shape of the land rather than against it.  

Hedgerow restoration on Briar Edge ridge

Briar Edge Farm, Woolston, Preece Farming Partnership.

Grant of £23,000.60, October 2022 - March 2024, total project value £23,000.60 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

This project is restoring 790 metres of hedgerow through pleaching, coppicing, gapping up, planting 15 new hedgerow trees and fencing.  The hedges are between the lower edge of two sloping fields and the top of a steep bank, so they play an important role in reducing flood risk by improving water infiltration and reducing the risk of run-off/erosion – particularly as the fields are sometimes used to grow winter fodder crops for out wintering stock.  Planting new trees will increase the range of habitat on the farm and thicker hedges will provide more shade and shelter for livestock, which is important due to the exposed location of the grazing fields. 

The Graig: Habitat restoration 

Grant of £12,663.45, October 2022 - March 2024, total project value £12,663.45 

The project is supporting the enclosure (by fencing) of two areas (4.15 hectares and 0.72 heatares) of Priority Habitat veteran oak woodland, and 1.5 hectares of Ffridd habitat which will encourage the expansion of species rich areas and natural regeneration of oak woodland.  A livestock access track will be created to exclude livestock from the woodland area and access to drinking water will be installed in the new land parcels. This will allow the grazing to be managed on rotation which improves the soil organic matter and carbon sequestration.  92 metres of hedgerow will be coppiced to maintain a healthy hedgerow habitat. 

Lower Treverward: Hedgerow restoration and complete diet feeder for home grown crops 

Grant of £29,164.20 awarded October 2022, total project value £50,164.20 

This project is hedge-laying and fencing (697 metres) to safeguard the newly laid hedge from grazing livestock. Fencing allows the hedge to grow up to 2.4 meters wide, ideal habitat for some of our threatened species such as dormice and bats. The grant is also supporting (at 40%) the purchase of a Lucas Spirmix jet 140 feeder/ bedder to efficiently mix and process home grown forage crops for sheep and cattle. This will reduce the farms reliance on bought in feeds, some of which come from abroad. By using home grown crops to include in a mixed ration the farm’s carbon emissions will be reduced through less feed waste, a reduced reliance on bought in compound feeds and improved feed efficiency that are associated with total mixed rations. The feeder also gives greater flexibility and control of what is fed to the farm livestock.  

Grassland regeneration and water management 

New House Farm, Hayton's Bent, Ludlow, Neil Brown

Grant of £66,236.02, November 2022 - March 2025, total project value £87,787.15 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Supporting a series of initiatives including permanent electric fencing, leaky dams and water troughs along two stretches of watercourse to  improve water quality.  Further permanent and temporary electric fencing, along with mobile water troughs, to enable rotational grazing across the farm, improving grass growth, biodiversity and stock health.  The purchase of a muck spreader to utilise farm manure and cycle nutrients more efficiently across 286 hectares of local farmland.  A 15,000 litres rainwater harvesting system is being installed to manage water better on the farm.  The project is also creating 16.9 hectares of new wood pasture, 1 hectare of a new species-rich meadow and restoring 80 metres of hedgerow which includes planting 20 new trees and installing some nesting boxes.

Habitat restoration 

Brook Vessons Farm, Pontesbury, Mossy Oaks LLP

Grant of £53,565.81, October 2022 - March 2024, total project value £70,105.03

Restoring the land to historic wood pasture, revive existing and create new habitat networks, including hedgerows, and improve pasture and soil health, using native rare breed livestock, including Golden Guernsey goats, British Saddleback pigs, and a range of traditional breed chickens, farmed in a rotational grazing system and other traditional techniques to manage the pasture and surrounding habitats. These practices will allow us to produce healthy, ethical and sustainable food, with sales starting from Spring 2023, which will connect the local community with the land

Cheney Longville Farms: Onny Trail Permissive Access Path Renovation Project 

Grant of £12,550.59, October 2022 - March 2024, total project value £12,550.59

The Onny Trail is a popular permissive walk that follows the line of the old Craven Arms to Bishop’s Castle railway along the banks of the River Onny.  The project will restore and improve the length (3.54km) and accessibility of the trail, and make it a circular, rather than a linear walk. The stiles along the trail will be replaced by 12 accessible gates.  Waymarking along the route will be improved and a welcome panel installed at the start of the trail.  These works also improve the route of the Wart Hill Wander - a day walk from the nearby Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre which increases its attractiveness as a tourism attraction and thereby helping to support the local economy. 

Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership: Fix the Fort – Caering for Caradoc Project 

Grant of £13,001.12 awarded October 2022, total project value £26,840.12 

This project is repairing the ramparts of the impressive iron-age hillfort that crowns Caer Caradoc in the heart of the Shropshire Hills.  The hillfort itself is in an area of designated access land and is a scheduled monument of national importance. The popularity of the destination is contributing to the erosion of the main ramparts and approaching footpaths (both desire lines and public rights of way). Working closely with the landowner, Shropshire Council and Historic England, the project will create a stepped and maintainable ‘sacrificial surface’ at two locations that will improve accessibility whilst protecting the exposed archaeology. In the third location, the intention will be to fill and re-vegetate the eroded area.  A specialist archaeologist will work with volunteers to record and understand the exposed archaeology and monitor and provide expert advice for the repair process. The project will interpret the hillfort with boundary post panels, linked to online audio descriptions and hold a series of storytelling events to help connect people to the hillfort, landscape and its myths and legends. 

River protection and enhancement measures

New House Farm, Clee St Margaret, D H Heighway & Co

Grant of £36,486.75, November 2022 - March 2024, total project value £42,712.01

Replacement water supply, pumped from a spring to water troughs which supply 23 ha of grazing land and farm buildings. Clean water supply for handwashing facilities for visiting school groups. Completing the fencing of two watercourse, to exclude stock and protect and enhance over 800 metres of headwater streams. Coppicing 22 bankside trees. Installing 14 leaky dams. Planting up 148m of gaps in bankside cover.

Carbon Accounting – a collaborative learning initiative 

various farm in Clee Hills area, Clee View Farmers Group

Grant of £16,515.00, December 2022 - March 2024, total project value £19,606.00 

The grant is supporting carbon accounting across 31 holdings covering 8,279 hectares. Members of the Clee View Farmers Group will be trained in carbon accounting, using the Agrecalc tool to collate data and undertake carbon auditing on farms. They will be supported by Carbon Metrics and Dr Simon Jeffery of Harper Adams University, who will help the group to consider how to adapt farm practices to reduce emissions, increase carbon storage and maximise sequestration. The results will be shared at a farm event and separate meeting to discuss implications / opportunities for the Nature Recovery Network. An education pack presenting the results will also be produced for stakeholders and other interested groups.

photograph of Steel and timber to create cattle bridge

Derrington Farm: Protection of Watercourses and Woodland and Pond Enhancements 

Grant of £48,718.28 awarded December 2022, total project value £53,048.28 

The project is fencing (1,600 metres) two brooks which run into the River Severn to prevent livestock from eroding the banks and polluting the water. Mains water drinking troughs are being installed for cattle and sheep.  Two livestock bridges, using oak felled on the farm, are being installed to maintain grazing access, and a large overgrown and trodden-in field pond is being restored and fenced. The project is also erecting 680 meters of new livestock fencing along the field side edge of Withygreaves Wood, an historic Priority Habitat Broadleaf Woodland.  This will enable livestock grazing to be managed to encourage natural tree regeneration, protect rare ground flora and encourage wildlife (including dormice and ground nesting birds). 

photograph of a curlew in a field

Carbon for Curlews in the Clun Forest, centred around Rhos Fiddle and the Ceri Ridgway. 

Grant of £63,087.72 awarded December 2022, total project value £63,087.72 

The project will investigate the extent and condition of the peat soils over approximately 500 hectares, including Shropshire Wildlife Trust nature reserves, land managed by Natural Resources Wales and upland hill pasture managed by several private landowners.  The results will inform these landowners and managers on the potential for peat restoration and enhancing biodiversity and provide options for future environmental land management schemes. This study will help prioritise a second phase of more detailed restoration options and unlock funding from a range of other sources in the future. 

Photograph of bracken control on the Long Mynd

National Trust: Bracken and Gorse Management on the Longmynd Common 

Grant of £76,577.81 awarded December 2022, total project value £138,592.46 

Project to support the clearance of gorse and bracken on steeper slopes across the Longmynd Common, that are inaccessible for routine management. The Longmynd supports some of the rarest acid grassland habitats which are being encroached upon by gorse and are vulnerable to being shaded out.  The project is working with the Active Graziers to identify and remove bracken and gorse in critical locations, grazing areas will be increased and access for stock management improved to support the traditional sheep farming practice on Longmynd Common. This will also help to reconnect areas of grassland to restore the habitat mosaic of the Site of Special Scientific Interest to benefit a wide range of associated wildlife. 

Soil Health and Water Protection 

Upper Ledwyche Farm, Ludlow, GW Sanders & Son

Grant of £58,216.88, December 2022 - March 2024, total project value £90,807.50 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

The grant is supporting a range of activity including electric fencing for rotational grazing, gapping up hedgerows and creating two pollinator patches (582m2)) to increase species diversity. To improve soil health, the farm is investing in FECPAK (faecal egg counting) technology to reduce overuse of wormers which have a detrimental effect on soil microbiology and livestock health.  A precision spreader is also being purchased to spread organic manure, lime, gypsum and solid digestate at variable rates across the farm. A borehole and rainwater harvesting system (10,000L) is also being installed to secure water for livestock as 750 metres of watercourse is fenced to create a riverine corridor with natural regeneration and targeted tree planting (10 trees). 

Curlew Headstarting

Pennerley, Curlew Country, c/o GWCT

Grant of £77,565.62, January 2023 - March 2024, total project value £92,564.49

Raising Curlew from egg to fledging stage, from nests proven to be at risk of failure.

photograph of the site for borehole on the Stiperstones NNR

Natural England: Water supply for the north end of the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve (NNR) – borehole prognosis report. 

Grant of £21,132.00 awarded December 2022, total project value £25,932.00 

The internationally important heathland habitats on the Stiperstones NNR rely upon summer grazing to maintain their favourable condition. This grazing is becoming increasingly compromised by the drying up of the natural springs during the summer months. To maintain the site in favourable condition grazing needs to continue and a reliable water source is needed. This project will investigate the possibility of a borehole to supply the heathland and adjoining tenanted grassland by carrying out a desk-based prognosis report to see whether drilling a borehole is achievable, what depth would be required and cost.  Stage 2 is to drill and set up a borehole, solar pump, storage tank and pipework to existing troughs as well as an additional trough on the heathland, to replace the natural spring that dries up in the summer.  

photograph of curlew grassland habitat

Curlew Country: Habitat creation to benefit foraging Curlew 

Grant of £12,429.11 awarded December 2022, total project value £12,429.11 

Supporting innovative land management and habitat enhancement techniques to increase foraging opportunities for breeding Curlew and their progeny on 3 farms in the Shropshire Hills which are known curlew breeding areas. Activities include creating an artificial spring with 4 scrapes totalling 740 metres square, installing 4 leaky dams and erecting 85 metres of permanent fencing to protect one of the newly created scrapes. 180 metres of electric fencing will be used to protect a scrape and ‘rushy’ ditch feature, where the leaky dams are located. This fence will be in place during the Curlew breeding season, from April to August. These activities will increase opportunities for Curlew to forage close to their nest sites and help their ability to defend their territories against predators. 

photograph of tree planting and new gate

Hedgerow creation and tree planting 

Coates Bungalow, Ratlinghope, Lucy McFarlane

Grant of £4,066.60, December 2022 - March 2024, total project value £4,066.60 

A new 280 metre hedgerow is being planted and fenced, creating a new habitat which links into a wider habitat corridor for wildlife. A further area is being fenced (150-metre fence) to provide 0.2 hectare enclosure for 220 native trees and shrubs to be planted. The trees will be predominantly oak, birch and rowan but hedgerow species will also be planted and allowed to grow to their full potential e.g. spindleberry, guelder rose, field maple. A botanical survey of grassland species will be carried out to inform future management.

Hedgerow rejuvenation

Ashgrove Farm, Wentnor, Mr JW Byron.

Grant of £7,643.07, December 2022 - March 2023, total project value £7,843.07

Rejuvenate 163m of hedgerow by coppicing and gapping up and planting five standard hedgerow trees. Double fencing 103m rejuvenated hedge funded by Countryside Stewardship grant.

Farmland habitat restoration and regeneration

Manor House Farm, Brockton, Matthew Gosling

Grant of £46,206.94, November 2022 - March 2025, total project value £46,206.94 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Creation of species rich meadow with wood pasture. The management of existing woodland. New species rich broadleaved woodland creation. Hedgerow with standard trees and hedgerow coppicing and gapping up. Traditional Orchard restoration, management of existing trees, planting of new trees and creation of a more species rich grassland below. Provision of wildlife nesting/breeding boxes.

Habitat restoration and creation

Thresholds, Picklescott, Crows (Agriculture) Ltd 

Grant of £44,764.91, November 2022 - March 2024, total project value £44,764.91 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Planting approx. 700 meters of hedgerows with several different plants and trees, in addition to the restoration of 400 meters by coppicing and gapping up to link to existing hedgerow networks of 2730m, which in turn is linked to approximately 4 hectares of woodland and scrubland.

Hedgerow Creation and Renovation and Protection of Watercourses and Wetlands 

Myndtown Farm, Myndtown, Plowden Farming Partnership

Grant of £61,486.46, January 2023 - March 2024, total project value £61,486.46 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

The objective of this project is to create a network of new and renovated hedgerows to complement and enhance the existing landscape. It will entail the planting of 616m of new hedgerows on old hedge lines, hedge renovation through coppicing and gapping up, totalling 850m’ combined with 24 new hedgerow trees at a rate of 1:50 m. All hedgerows will be double fenced with permanent 4 strand electric fence totalling 2598m. Protection of 1,150 metres of watercourses and wetland areas.

Habitat restoration and creation, protecting watercourses and introducing cattle

Hope Park, Pennerley, JL & J Bennett

Grant of £20,989.78, December 2022 - March 2025, total project value £20,989.78 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Inspired by the Upper Onny Farmers Group visit to James Rebanks farm in Cumbria, this project is taking a nature friendly farming approach to managing Hope Park by introducing suckler cattle to this part of the farm and installing the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. Adopting rotational grazing techniques, will allow rest periods to improve forage production, soil health and protect watercourses. Habitats will also be improved.

Water and wooded corridor project

Greater Poston Farm, Craven Arms, BT & JA Stead & Son, 

Grant of £89,426.51, December 2022 - March 2025, total project value £90,888.23 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

The creation of a long riverine corridor habitat & associated water provision for livestock away from the brook. The creation of five new blocks of wooded land of grazed woodland and scrub, wooded scrub bank and rewilded area connected by a network of newly planted hedges eith gapping up of hedges, new hedgerow trees and more wildlife friendly managed hedges. Increased rotational grazing, rainwater harvesting system and provision of wildlife nest boxes.

Enhanced biodiversity, habitat connectivity and carbon sequestration

Villa Farm, All Stretton, Bridget Gillian Naylor

Grant of £7,592.78, November 2022 - March 2025, total project value £7,792.35 (2 agreements due to Countryside Stewardship rate changes, January 2023)

Restoration of 135m hedgerows. Restoration of 0.86ha of species meadow through introduction of new seed and controlled grazing. Scrub management through combination of fencing and the controlled browsing by new flock of 9 Hill Radnor sheep. Detailed analysis of species in soil through DNA testing.

Monitoring water quality, with workshops and training on how to improve water quality by changing land management practices.

8 land holding in Pontesford Brook, East Onny and Cound Brook, Pollardine Farm Partnership

Grant of £77,484.71, January 2023 - March 2024, total project value £84,040.43

To deploy 21 sensors to monitor the turbidity, colour and temperature of water in streams and ponds on 8 land holdings across three waterbody sub-catchments. To hold a workshop roughly every 3 months for participants to discuss data captured by the sensors and identify projects they can deliver on their land to improve water quality. A final year BSc (Hons) Agriculture student will complete a research study on the project to identify the impact of agricultural activities on nutrient losses using proxy sensors. The participants will have the option to complete the course, Holistic Management: Fundamentals halfway through the project to help with their decision making in changing land management practices and to develop their understanding of ecosystem processes.

Grassland restoration (extension of agreement SHR032)

Pollardine Farm, Pontesbury, Pollardine Farm Partnership

Grant of £3,132.05, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £6,674.10

Grassland restoration on 169ha at Pollardine Farm using Holistic Planned Grazing. Addition to equipment awarded in SHR032 to allow us to manage multiple livestock groups and to make us more resilient to a lack of water from frost / drought. Hosting and participation in Low-Stress Livestock Handling course delivered by Miriam Parker.

Enhancement of habitats, water and resilience

Cow Hall, Newcastle, Lynn Parker

Grant of £22,169.23, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £26,327.23

Creation of a series of 3 leaky dams; Creation of a pond; Wood pasture planting on 1.4ha and hedge planting; Cattle handling equipment to increase farm resilience; 110m of hedge laying to thicken the hedge to create more habitat delivered this financial year; 179m of hedge laying to thicken the hedge to create more habitat delivered next financial year; Curlew nest fencing; Borehole survey.

Hedgerow rejuvenation and improvements to the Darnford Brook

Brow Farm, Ratlinghope, RJ & HM Sankey

Grant of £19,900.35, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £19,900.35

Erecting new stock fencing adjacent to the Darnford Brook, to create wide riparian buffer strips, to enable controlled grazing and protect and enhance species diversity. Rejuvenating and widening of relic hedgerows, to create significant shrubby wildlife corridors. Planting new hedgerow along an old hedge bank.

Upland field recreation and habitat mosaic creation 

Newhall Farm, Church Stretton, W H Oliver & Son

Grant of £55,055.68, February 2023 - March 2023, total project value £57,745.42

The reinstatement and enhancement (widening) of 1,110m of hedgerow and planting of 10 hedgerow trees and creation of a 330m long rough barn owl rough feeding strip. The protection of a wet flush, spring habitat and creation of a shallow wet pool/scrape area. The protection and active, selective management of two pockets of gorse/scrub habitat. The creation of a livestock holding pen to reduce environmental impacts (water pollution, carbon footprint) of frequent stock movements to and from main farm holding (1.2km round trip). The provision of wildlife boxes for nesting and roosting (barn owl, bat and solitary bees).

Creation of flood-water attenuation scheme, wetland habitat, and short rotation coppice

Henleyhill Farm, Cleestanton, Ludlow, Downton Hall Partnership

Grant of £36,884.55, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £38,004.55

Bring to the surface a piped spring and field drains to create a series of wet landscape features to increase biodiversity and attenuate peak water flows. An area of short rotation coppice will be incorporated to provide wood chip to be used as cattle bedding, whilst providing a continual ‘woodland fringe’ habitat to adjoin the existing woodland. The project area will also include other habitat areas to target feeding and breeding opportunities for key species such as owls, bats, and raptors. The water outlet from the scheme will be diverted into an adjacent woodland and leaky dams built to create an area of priority habitat ‘wet woodland’ to further enhance biodiversity in the area.

Integrating Land regeneration, Livestock and Local people

Little Leath, Stanton Long, Much Wenlcok, Tom Allsop & Lucy Grove

Grant of £17,658.53, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £19,999.28

Restoration and regeneration of the land at Little Leath through hedge coppicing, gapping up and tree planting, scrub management for wildflower meadow creation and orchard restoration, backwater wet habitat creation, wildlife box provision etc. Supporting Little Leath’s ‘Flying Flock’ of conservation grazing sheep, to help manage small patches of neglected or over managed land across the Corvedale/Clee hills area. The creation of a new community gathering place, with a particular focus on getting Women back out onto the land.

Wet flush and Upland habitat enhancement project (Phase 1)

Highcroft, Abdon, Craven Arms, Marsh Farm Partnership

Grant of £3,557.78, February 2023 - March 2024, total project value £3,748.28

Collection of data (bird species and habitat survey and wildlife trail camera monitoring) and expert guidance and design, to help plan the delivery of priority wet flush habitat protection whilst improving livestock drinking source and gorse and bracken management across the hillside (which contains pockets of priority lowland heath habitat). The beginning of habitat enhancement through targeted gorse cutting to cerate a mosaic of age structures.

Re-instatement and rejuvenation of field boundaries and installation of water supply to allow rotational grazing management in the Upper Redlake Valley

Purlogue, Clun, WME Davies

Grant of £36,022.11, June 2023 - March 2024, total project value £38,902.11

Planting 792 metres of new hedge, rejuvenating a further 455 metres of native hedgerow and planting 12 hedgerow trees at random spacings.  The project is also installing a water supply comprising of a solar pump and tank with 504 metre of pipe work and 3 tanks to provide stock watering on multiple fields, to enable rotational grazing of land and more sustainable grazing and grassland management.

Educational farm visits for disadvantaged children 

various farms in the AONB, The Country Trust

Grant of £7,927.08, June 2023 - March 2024, total project value £7,927.08

To work with James Turner to provide 10 inspiring, hands-on day visits over the next two years for over 260 children, and in some cases family members too, from disadvantaged communities in and around the Shropshire Hills AONB.

Enhancing the biodiversity of Brineddin Wood by reintroducing rotational oak coppicing

Bucknell, Redlake Valley Community Benefit Society Ltd

Grant of £3,658.60, June 2023 - March 2024, total project value £6,686.83

Create appropriate access for immediate and longer term use. Fell 0.2 ha of woodland containing about 90 stems of oaks which were last coppiced more than 100 years ago. Protect coppice regrowth from deer predation.

Establishment of species rich grassland and hedgerow regeneration

Pontesford Hill, P & A Bradley

Grant of £5,293.60, June 2023 - March 2024, total project value £5,293.60

This is Phase 2 of a multi year project to establish a series of biodiverse habitats and ensure good connectivity between habitats, which includes 150 metres hedgerow regeneration and fencing - preserving existing species and selecting standards through a combination of laying, and gapping up. The project will also fence adjacent ditch to improve water quality.