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Delivering landscape conservation across the Hope Valley

Hope Showground was a hive of activity recently as farmers from across the Hope Valley and Bradfield collected over 31,000 hedge plants and 1500 trees to plant on their farms this winter.

The project, initiated by the Hope Valley Farmers and Bradfield Farmers group and led by Dark Peak farmer cluster, Peakland Environmental Farmers will see over six kilometres of new hedge established, creating valuable habitat corridors for wildlife, sequestering carbon and enhancing the landscape.

Tom Noel, chair of Peakland Environmental Farmers says the work of these farmers shows how collaborative action for the environment by farmers can make a real difference to the farmed environment:

“Our upland farms are a rare haven for several very rare species so by linking habitats with new hedgerows our members are committing their own time and effort to create wildlife corridors.

“As a farmer cooperative we plan to plant more hedgerows each year thereby exceeding government targets on biodiversity, carbon, clean air and water. We will achieve this at the same time as welcoming over 13 million visitors to our farms each year and contributing to national food security and thriving village communities in the Peak District,” Tom says.

Mark Priestley, a Hope Valley Farmers member has been creating new hedges across his farm for several years now.

“We have created over 700m of new hedgerow in the last two years with Hope Valley Farmers. Ours is a former dairy farm so there was limited wildlife habitat across it but we are gradually pulling it back for nature.

“The boundaries on the farm were mainly fences before so it is a great opportunity to plant hedges and create a network of wildlife corridors across the farm. We would not have been able to afford to do everything we have without this project,” Mark adds.

The hedge plants and trees were supplied by the Woodland Trust who has provided plants for the last five years to farmers in the Hope Valley and Bradfield. Chloe Palmer, facilitator of the Hope Valley and Bradfield Farmers groups is delighted with the positive partnership working demonstrated by this project:

“Through our partnership with Peakland Environmental Farmers, the Woodland Trust and the Peak District National Park’s Farming in Protected Landcsape programme, the Hope Valley and Bradfield Farmers have planted almost 10,000 metres of new hedgerow in the last two years.

“This achievement demonstrates the enthusiasm and commitment of farmers in the Hope Valley and Bradfield to create wildlife habitat and to enhance their farms. Each year this project has grown in scale and we are already planning ahead for 2024 when we hope to plant over 8000m of new hedge.”


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