• Hope Farm 20th Anniversary Webinar Series - Webinar 2 Cover Crops, Soil Health and Biodiversity

     A summary of the 2nd Webinar in Hope Farm's 20th Anniversary series, by Sophie Mott, RSPB’s Conservation Advisor for Cambridgeshire

     If you’ve read the previous blog, you’ll already know about Hope Farm’s 20th Anniversary Webinar Series, five webinars covering important nature focused farming topics being delivered by industry experts and farmers alike.

    The second webinar of the series took…

    • 5 Jan 2021
  • Hope Farm 20th Anniversary Webinar Series - 1 - A tried and tested plan for wildlife-friendly farming?

    A summary of the 1st Webinar in Hope Farm's 20th Anniversary series, by Sophie Mott, RSPB’s Conservation Advisor for Cambridgeshire

    In celebration of Hope farm’s 20th anniversary we are doing something a little different, with the launch of a series of five webinars. The webinars welcome anybody interested in nature-based solutions on farmland and touch on a few lessons we’ve learnt over the last 20…

    • 6 Dec 2020
  • Cover Crops and bird populations at Hope Farm

    Olivia Martin, an MSc Zoology student from Anglia Ruskin University, investigated the impact of cover crops, cultivations, and other crops on winter bird populations, using 5 years worth of monitoring data at Hope farm. 

    In the U.K., many bird species are seeing their populations decline, partly due to the way we farm the land. To target and stop these declines, wildlife-friendly farming techniques are being investigated…

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Celebrating 20 years of Hope Farm

    Back in 2000, the RSPB was looking to purchase a farm, to demonstrate and research wildlife-friendly farming methods that would still turn a profit. A pin was put in the map between Elsworth and Knapwell in Cambridgeshireand Grange Farm (now named Hope Farm) was purchased from the Sandercock family.  

    Our aspiration was to halt the ongoing decline of red-listed and endangered species that had relied on farming practices to survive…

    • 9 Nov 2020
  • England Food Strategy: can tariffs protect nature?

    Lucy Bjorck, Senior Policy Officer at the RSPB, talks about part one of the Food Strategy, launched this week.

    Part one of the Food Strategy was launched yesterday. Much of it rightly focuses on ensuring everyone can eat well but it also has some important recommendations on trade, which have implications for nature.

    Many of the issues which beset our food system - high climate change impact, deforestation, unsustainable…

    • 30 Jul 2020
  • Flower Power

    Flowers are a fundamental part of a sustainable farming system. Without flowers, the ability of biodiversity to thrive and in turn help us grow food is very limited. We need connected flower-rich habitats to help reverse the ongoing decline in biodiversity, and we need a stable ecosystem for our food security.  Surely, though, we have seen declining biodiversity over the last 50 years, but consistently higher yields? Well…

    • 12 May 2020
  • Farming with Nature

    A blog by Chris Bailey - RSPB Scotland's advisory manager

    RSPB Scotland has extended its relationship with Soil Association Scotland, Scottish Forestry and Scottish Water to deliver the Farming with Nature Programme for another year. Originally the programme was due to run for just two and a-half years jointly funded by the partners and through the Scottish Government Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KITF)…

    • 3 Mar 2020
  • Curlew: A species on the brink

    A blog by Katie Gibb, RSPB's Conservation Officer for Antrim Plateau

    The curlew is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable UK bird species; it is entrenched and entangled in our stories, its haunting call is the soundscape that captures the essence of our moorlands.

    However, curlews, like many of the UK's farmland birds, have seen dramatic population declines within living memory. Within Northern Ireland alone, they…

    • 27 Feb 2020
  • The importance of soil health

    A blog on soil health by Georgie Bray - RSPB's Hope Farm Manager

    Playing the waiting game!

    Sitting in the farmhouse office, looking at another day with grey skies and puddles on the patio, you can’t help but wonder how much more rain can fall from the sky. It has been one of the wettest winters in our memory at Hope Farm, and although my memory is short, many other farmers have been saying how abnormally difficult…

    • 16 Feb 2020
  • Cutting (h)edge management at Hope Farm

    In this blog, Paul Cabrisy, research intern at RSPB Hope Farm, explains the importance of hedges and correctly managing them on a farm. Paul also tells us the outcome of a study carried by a masters student who looked at different preferences of farmland bird species to different frequencies of hedgerow management at Hope Farm.

    The importance of hedgerows

    Hedgerows are highly important to farms’ wildlife as, in the UK…

    • 13 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 5 - Climate and Net Zero

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    Climate and Net Zero - by Mair Floyd-Bosley and Melanie Coath (RSPB - climate change policy)

    Agriculture in the UK produces 45.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 10% of UK total GHG emissions, including significant methane and nitrous oxide contributions. At the same time, the continuing decline of nature is both exacerbated by, and accelerating, climate…

    • 10 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 4 - a Just Transition

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    A Just Transition - by Mair Floyd-Bosley (RSPB policy assistant) and Sorcha Lewis (high-nature value farmer in Wales)

    This discussion was geared around building a fair and equitable shift for everyone, especially farmers, who are the most directly affected by an ambitious change in our food system. Moving towards payments for public goods has the potential…

    • 6 Feb 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 3 - agroecology and regenerative farming

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    In our first blog in this series we reported on some of the discussions which RSPB was involved in at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. One of our aims for attending the conference was to crowdsource ideas to contribute to an Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife through a Citizens’ Assembly. In this blog we highlight some of the ideas which…

    • 30 Jan 2020
  • Oxford Real Farming Conference part 2 - Food Policy

    Citizen’s Assembly: Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife

    In our previous blog we reported on some of the discussions which RSPB was involved in at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. One of our aims for attending the conference was to crowdsource ideas to contribute to an Emergency Plan for Agriculture and Wildlife through a Citizens’ Assembly. In this blog we highlight some of the ideas which were championed…

    • 28 Jan 2020
  • The RSPB at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2020

    A blog by Mair Floyd-Bosley, RSPB's farming and climate change policy assistant

    Even before the Agriculture Bill was published, farming was the only subject in Oxford this month. At the beginning of January, an RSPB team from all over the UK headed over to Oxford for two action-packed days of the Oxford Real Farming Conference. This was the 11th ORFC, a self-proclaimed ‘radical’ alternative to status-quo Oxford Farming…

    • 20 Jan 2020
  • Report of the 2019 Butterfly and Bumblebee monitoring at Hope Farm, the effectiveness of our Wildlife-Friendly farming.

    Paul Cabrisy, research intern at RSPB Hope Farm, tells us about the outcome of our butterfly and bumblebee surveys throughout the monitoring seasons this year.

    The butterfly monitoring.

    Summer 2019 has been a relatively hot and wet season, but just like last year our butterflies have increased in numbers at Hope Farm. Moreover, we have recorded over 6200 individuals of 24 species. The butterfly index for this year stands…

    • 13 Dec 2019
  • Hope Farm: a round up of our farmland breeding birds in 2019 and how we did it!

    How did farmland birds fare in 2019 on RSPB's Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire? In this blog, Farm Manager Georgie Bray tells us.

    A key part of the work we do at Hope Farm is to demonstrate wildlife friendly farming, in terms of its practicalities on the ground. What sets Hope Farm apart is our ability to monitor the changes to farmland bird populations to quantify the difference of taking a wildlife-friendly farming approach…

    • 28 Sep 2019
  • Corncrake: the people's bird

    Chris Bailey - RSPB Scotland's Advisory Manager - tells us below how corncrakes have fared in 2019, and why it is so important that we continue to work on conserving them.

    In the first half of the twentieth century, the corncrake was so widespread that it featured on collectable cigarette cards of common British birds. According to the example below from circa 1920, a corncrake’s nest was ‘built on the ground amongst…

    • 27 Sep 2019
  • Future Agricultural Policy in Wales

    A blog by Rhys Evans, Policy Officer for RSPB Cymru.

    On 9th July 2019 Welsh Government published their Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation which puts forward plans for how farmers will be supported in the future. This consultation follows their initial proposals contained within last year’s Brexit and our Land consultation and will run until 30th October 2019.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the consultation…

    • 19 Sep 2019
  • Making public goods pay – new research shows that at least £3 billion is needed to support nature-friendly farming in the UK

    Today, three major conservation organisations – the National Trust, the RSPB, and The Wildlife Trusts – publish landmark independent research on future agriculture policy.
    • 19 Sep 2019
  • RSPB welcomes Beccy Speight as new CEO

    In August, the RSPB said goodbye to Mike Clarke after nine years as our Chief Executive, and we welcomed Beccy Speight to the role. In this blog, she introduces herself and shares some of her thoughts and aspirations.

    Hello, I'm very honoured to introduce myself as the new RSPB Chief Executive. I have most recently led the Woodland Trust – a job I enjoyed doing for over five years – and I am really excited to be continuing…

    • 17 Sep 2019
  • Another record Open Farm Sunday at Hope Farm

    RSPB's Hope Farm has run a successful LEAF Open Farm Sunday event for the last 5 years. Read on to hear from Hope Farm manager Georgie Bray on how 2019’s event went.

    “This could have been our first year of wash out rain but someone was looking down on us to help run yet another sunny sell-out event. With sun beaming, we joined hundreds of farmers across the country who opened their gates to the general public…

    • 21 Jun 2019
  • Future Farming Policies in Wales: Farmers are part of the solution, not the problem.

    With its green pastures, rolling hills and rugged highlands, Wales may seem like a lush country brimming with wildlife. However, look closer, and you’ll see that this is not quite the case.

    Sadly, Wales is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. A third of Welsh birds are declining, and one in 14 species is under risk of extinction. Evidence shows that farmland nature is doing particularly badly…

    • 19 Jun 2019
  • Nature Friendly Farmers in Northern Ireland spread the word!

    David Sandford is Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network in Northern Ireland. Below he talks about what they have been up to recently to spread the messages about wildlife friendly farming.

    “Formed at the beginning of 2018, the Nature Friendly Farming Network aims to unite farmers from across the UK who are passionate about nature, wildlife and sustainable farming. Our aim is to champion a nature way of farming…

    • 17 Jun 2019
  • Dumfriesshire livestock farmer Michael Clarke explains why he joined the Nature Friendly Farming Network

    Michael Clarke farms Williamwood farm in Dumfriesshire in partnership with his wife, Shirley. They run a lowland, pasture-based beef and sheep enterprise alongside holiday cottages, in which they offer farm and wildlife-watching experiences. Michael is Scotland Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) and below he writes about his experiences and why he joined NFFN.

    "Farming is a bruising business. As livestock…

    • 14 Jun 2019