On September 28th the Woolhope Village Hall was filled for a workshop entitled ‘Developing Natural Capital and Agri-environment schemes in the Woolhope Dome’. The event brought together farmers, smallholders and a whole host of other local stakeholders and organisations all interested in the management of this unique part of the county. Andrew Blake of Wye Valley AONB introduced the evening that was sponsored by Woolhope Dome Environment Trust
Guest speaker for the evening was Billy Lewis who farms at Boycefield Farm in North Herefordshire and was recently awarded the Mixed Farm Winner in this year’s Soil Farmer of the Year competition. With the help of lots of great visual aids Billy gave a overview of the innovative steps he is taking to try and restore and regenerate his soils and farm alongside nature in a profitable way. Billy is utilising methods such as direct drilling into cover crops, planting catch crops and rotational herbal lays as well as using mob grazing systems to improve the diversity, productivity and resilience of his pastures. You can view Billy’s slides again here. Copy of Woolhope Dome Event 28th September Presentation
Kate Speke Adams, Head of Land Use at the Wye & Usk Foundation then presented a sweeping overview of ‘The Future of agri-environment’ including what we do and don’t know and what we can be doing in the meantime. This included known support schemes including Countryside Stewardship and the England Woodland Creation Offer as well as what is anticipated to be coming soon under the Environmental Land Management Scheme. There are also several local opportunities for funding also available across many parts of the county. You can view Kate’s slides again here. Hfd Meadows Woolhope Presentation_WUF
After this broad overview, Caroline Hanks from Herefordshire Meadows, then focused on specific projects happening across the Woolhope Dome, in particular projects seeking to preserve and restore species rich grasslands. These are being championed by all sorts of different individuals and organisations. A summary of can be found in Caroline’s slides here. CH slides Woolhope workshop 28.9.22
Frank Warwick outlined the local grant opportunities from Woolhope Dome Environment Trust and Nick Critchley explained the Farming in Protected Landscapes capital grant. For further information contact Anna Stankiewicz at AONB.
Please send any feedback and suggestions for local collaboration, discussion groups, training or other farm environmental activities in the Woolhope Dome area to Rory Johnson of Herefordshire Meadows who organised and chaired the evening.