Agricultural land represents 71% of land nationally and 74% of land in Oxfordshire. Farmland plays a key role for many species with farmers and land managers maintaining, restoring and creating vital habitats. However, changes in farming practices following post Second World War policy, combined with the introduction of synthetic products to boost performance and efficiencies has caused the decline in many farmland habitats and associated species we are all familiar with, particularly farmland birds. But we are not at the end of this narrative. By working together, we can create a more natural, resilient, and biodiverse Oxfordshire with multiple benefits for a variety of outcomes including wildlife, food supply and local communities. Farmers and land managers are a key player in nature’s recovery, Wild Oxfordshire is here to support them on their journey.
Farmland Habitats in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire’s farmland is home to at least 11 types of Priority Habitat ,with lowland semi-natural grassland among the most threatened of these. Managed sensitively and holistically, farmland can support a wide range of plants, butterflies and moths, invertebrates, birds, small mammals, amphibian and reptile species, while provisioning for us with a range of benefits from food production to clean water.
For more information about Oxfordshire’s agriculture download this extract from the State of Nature 2017 report
Learn more about the role these vital habitats play for biodiversity:
Farmers in Oxfordshire - Leading Nature's Recovery
With such a large proportion of Oxfordshire’s biodiversity dependent upon farmland it is essential that the management required for the habitats and species that depend on it are integrated within farm businesses and land use decisions. Many Oxfordshire farmers are already leading the way by creating spaces where nature can thrive, running profitable farming businesses and bringing their local communities along with them on their journey to a more natural, resilient, and biodiverse Oxfordshire. Explore more about how farmers in Oxfordshire are doing their bit for nature’s recovery:
Hillesden Project outputs: Attached the paper by Pywellet al showing no effects on overall yield from taking areas out of production for wildlife habitats. Also a link to a blog and slides summarising the experiment.
Farmer clusters are local groups led by famers for farmers. Assisted by an advisor of ‘facilitator’, farmer clusters empower farmers and landowners to work together and deliver landscape scale conservation projects benefiting soil, water, and wildlife. They also act as a support system for farmers and land managers by giving guidance and advice and enabling knowledge from shared experiences to be exchanged.
Several farmer clusters have been set up around Oxfordshire. For more information on Farmer Clusters and how you could get involved visit: