Nature on your doorstep, get involved

Farmers in the Crowland area are helping local wildlife. Photo: Chris Gomershall (
Farmers in the Crowland area are helping local wildlife. Photo: Chris Gomershall (
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A group of local farmers between Peterborough and Wisbech have joined together to form the Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone to help local wildlife and they want the public to come and see for themselves.

These farmers are working with the RSPB to farm more sensitively, giving Nature a home while still producing crops.

Janet Herbert, one of the farmers involved in the project, sums up how it makes her feel to be part of the project: “It really melts the heart to watch flocks of little songbirds cheerfully playing over a field of wild bird seed mix, searching out seeds and insects.  Undertaking stewardship as an individual farmer is certainly rewarding, but to also be part of the Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone is even more fantastic because working together the benefits to birds and wildlife are increased enormously.”

Many farmland birds have declined at a worrying rate. We’ve lost over half of our skylarks since 1970, while turtle doves are likely to disappear from the UK by 2020 if we don’t help them. By creating wildlife habitat like wild bird cover and beetle banks, the Thorney farmers have not only been supporting these birds, but also many other farmland creatures including bees, butterflies, hares, hoverflies and water voles.

Fens Futurescape Community Engagement Officer, Jane Andrews-Gauvain, says: “Can you imagine if you couldn’t enjoy your orange juice, jam, or honey? This is what would happen if bees and other pollinators weren’t around to pollinate flowers. It would cost £1.8bn a year for farmers to replace the pollination service bees provide for free. We wouldn’t even have our basic tomato and Mozzarella toppings for a pizza – so the work of the farmers really is important – come and see for yourself!”

Thanks to these farmers’ work and support, the RSPB is offering opportunities for all ages and abilities to come and discover more about how farmers are helping wildlife on their farms. The first chance to discover more will be during a presentation on the 24 September at Bedford Hall, Thorney, from 7pm-9 pm, followed by a free farm visit on the 28 September.

There will be further opportunities for you to join in during September 2013 to January 2014, including opportunities to come on a nature walk, spot some farmland species and/or learn how to help wildlife on your doorstep.

To find out more and to ensure you have a place booked on 24, and/or 28 September, call the RSPB on 01954 233260, or email

Pictured by: Chris Gomershall (