The National Trust outlines ambition to help restore Britain’s natural heritage

Large Blue Butterfly ©National Trust Images. Matthew Oates

The National Trust today outlined ambitious plans to help reverse the decline in wildlife on all land in its ownership – including an aim to create 25,000 hectares (at least 5000 in the South West) of new habitats by 2025.

As one of the country’s largest landowners, the Trust wants to play its part in addressing the dramatic slump in British species and improve soil quality and water quality in the countryside. An in-depth study of UK species last year found 56 per cent were in decline.

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New tenants for Britain’s most southerly farm

The National Trust on the Lizard Peninsula is delighted to announce that a new 20 year tenancy has been offered to Rona and Nevil Amiss to take on mainland Britain’s most southerly farm.

Tregullas farm, sitting on the tip of the Lizard was acquired by the National Trust in the early 1990s and is closely linked to the local community of the Lizard as well as providing much of the feeding ground for the first breeding pair of Cornish choughs in the county. Situated either side of the footpath toLizard Point, hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through the farm on their way to the most southerly point.

When the previous tenant at Tregullas Farm left, the National Trust consulted widely with the local community at the Lizard to ask them what they wanted from the farm that sits between the village andLizard Point. Local people responded that a working farm was vital and that local food, wildlife, access to walks and views were important too and a number of local community groups were formed to develop ideas.

One looked at  new uses for old buildings, another at a community food enterprise and a third at how wildlife could be allowed to thrive on the farm and these were drawn together to form the basis of the new tenancy. In addition, large numbers of visitors make their way toLizard Pointeach year straight through the middle of the farm, so any new farmer was going to need to be keen on sharing the farm with many others.

Alastair Cameron, Property Manager for the National Trust on the Lizard said: “We are delighted with the response we received from the Lizard community and for their interest in their local environment and also with the hundreds of applications and responses we received from the farming community. We are really pleased that Rona and Nevil will be taking on the tenancy at Tregullas and think that they will do a fantastic job in farming at this amazing place.

The Amiss’ and their five children have been farming at Higher Fingle farm in Devon for the past eight years and have developed a varied business in cattle, sheep, duck eggs and goat meat, selling both locally and further afield. They intend to continue this successful business but also to launch into new enterprises that will suit the new farm, to work with the local community and to make the place more enjoyable to visitors, with farm open days and other events planned.

“We are really excited to be coming to the Lizard later this year” Rona Amiss said, “we are looking forward to working with the local community to look after Tregullas and to make the most of what it has to offer. We think it is a fantastic opportunity to develop what we have been doing at Higher Fingle farm into something bigger and better and we hope to achieve a lot of what the village said was important to them”

Dan Meek, the Land Agent managing the Devon County Council Farms Estate worked with the Amiss’ for many years “We’ll be sorry to see them go as they have contributed a lot to Higher Fingle Farm, to the local community and to other farmers in the area but it’s great to see them progress to a larger farm and I’m sure they will make a great success of their new enterprise

The new tenancy will start from September this year.

Southernmost farm seeks tenant…

We are offering a unique opportunity to the right person to help care for mainland Britain’s most southerly farm at Lizard Point in Cornwall.

Tregullas farm, sitting on the tip of the Lizard was acquired by the National Trust in the early 1990s and is closely linked to the local community of the Lizard as well as providing much of the feeding ground for the first breeding pair of Cornish choughs in the county. Situated either side of the footpath to Lizard Point, hundreds of thousands of visitors pass through the farm on their way to the most southerly point

Tregullas is no ordinary farm and comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. The new tenant farmer, who can choose between an initial 10 and 20 year tenancy needs to be someone who wants to be a part of the community, and understands the importance of the farm for people as well as wildlife and who can run a successful business.

Alastair Cameron, The National Trust’s property Manager for the Lizard explains “The farm is on the edge of Lizard village and so when the previous tenant left, the Trust took the time to listen to what the local community wanted from the land on their doorstep and to give them an opportunity to be involved in its future. We found that most people wanted a working farm, that wildlife, access and views were important and that people were really interested in being able to buy local food, so now we are looking for a new tenant who wants to work with the local community and ourselves to help make the most of this opportunity”.

The Trust has been working with three local groups set up as a result of this consultation, one looking at a community food growing scheme, another looking to find new uses for the old buildings and a third looking at the wildlife potential of the new tenancy [1]. Alastair says “it has been great working with the local community and trying to develop these new projects. It’s not all been successful but we’re hoping that the partnership approach can continue with our new tenant and we can move forward with projects that benefit the people of the Lizard as well as our tenant”

The Trust has been very involved in this area of the Lizard for over 20 years and has carried out a number of access, landscape and nature conservation projects aimed at making theLizard Pointarea better for people and wildlife. Such work includes a new footpath between the Lizard andLizard Point; under-grounding of overhead wires; restoration of historic buildings such as the Lizard Wireless Station and the Polbrean Youth Hostel; and landscape improvements such as removing poorly sited buildings. Conservation improvements have helped the re-establishment of a population of choughs inCornwalland protected and improved habitats in the area.

An estimated 200,000 people visit theLizard Pointeach year, all of whom will walk, cycle or drive past the farmhouse and through the farm to reach their destination, this iconic stretch of Cornish coast. The Trust’s intention with much of its access and landscape work has been to make the Lizard a more enjoyable experience and encouraging repeat visits. The Trust has been careful in all its work to not upset the balance of businesses within the community and has sought to complement and not compete with existing enterprises.

Justin Whitehouse, Head Ranger for the Lizard said: ‘ We want Tregullas farm to be a ‘flagship’ farm for the Trust, demonstrating that farming with high conservation standards can achieved in a  profitable and sustainable way, benefiting wildlife, the community and visitors and producing quality local produce”. 

Tenancy of the 96.6 hectare Tregullas Farm includes a house and buildings and the farm, which has a Higher Level Stewardship agreement, needs to be managed as an arable and livestock farm.

For further information on applying for this tenancy please click here

Pioneering National Trust farm launches partnership

In 2008, the National Trust, with the help of the Tubney Charitable Trust, acquired Trevean Farm near Morvah in Cornwall – a coastal farm with strong nature conservation potential, consisting of 73 hectares of marginal farmland. By managing the farm in-hand for the benefit of wildlife, animal welfare and biodiversity, whilst attempting to maximise economic returns, the Trust hopes to learn much about the true cost of conservation management.

The main management tool for the farm is a herd of pedigree Red Devon Cattle.  These hardy, Freedom Food assured cattle perform a vital role at the farm in providing not only the financial returns needed but also performing the low intensive, heathland grazing and trampling required in this harsh landscape increasingly dominated by gorse, bracken and dense scrub.

The meat from these cattle, slaughtered at approximately 30 months old is now available (from 12th June) for purchase at the Buckfastleigh based ‘Well Hung Meat Company’

The success of the cattle on the farm is not just economic, their grazing of the fields on the farm are helping the upland areas of the fields to slowly revert back to heath and semi-natural grassland.  In other areas more intensive grazing is producing the insect rich dung and shorter grass necessary to aid the Chough, which is once again gaining a foothold in the area.  The Chough’s and other birds species are further catered for by an area of arable land being left un-harvested each year as a source of winter bird food.

The cows, which are kept in family groups, are fed almost exclusively from feed produced on the farm heavy horses have been used for the sowing of the arable crops and new grass leys, helping not only to provide a vital source of food for the cattle but also helping to keep alive traditional skills and practices used for hundreds of years.

Guy Clegg, National Trust Trevean Farm Manager said: ‘We are delighted to announce our partnership with the ‘Well Hung Meat Company whose values and ethos match our own of understanding where you food comes and how it reached the table and how it was reared, I’m delighted that the success of what we are achieving on the farm means you can eat the meat from our Red Devon Cattle with a clear conscience.

Simon Wood from the Well Hung Meat Company said: ‘It is great to find a farm where every aspect of livestock production has been considered and planned. This makes our job as butchers much easier.

‘The conditions in which animals are reared can have a massive impact on the quality of the meat produced. The best meat comes from coastal locations where the land undulates and the climate is mild and wet. Grass, the key ingredient for any grazing animal, grows all year round and the salty sea air produces meat which is both rich and flavoursome. What’s more, the Red Devon breed ensures a perfect fat covering on the meat, with wonderful creamy white marbling. This is essential for fabulous flavour as the fat melts during cooking to make the meat tasty and juicy. We hang all our beef for a minimum of three weeks to ensure an intense concentrated flavour with a delicate tenderness. With more awards than any other online butchery, we know what we are talking about. We deliver nationwide in insulated boxes (which keep the meat fridge cold for 48 hours) and you don’t need to be in to receive a delivery. With a 100% guarentee on all products the partnership between Trevean Farm and the Well Hung Meat Company could not be more perfect.’

Trevean will also be taking part in Open Farm Sunday on the 12th June.  This annual event organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) gives everyone the chance to meet the farmers who grow their food and care for the countryside. The farm will have heavy horses ploughing demonstrations and visitors will get chance to meet a family of bats an owl amongst more usual four legged residents.