Lynsted with Kingsdown Society
More than twenty members gathered at Hole Street Farm*, Kingsdown, on Sunday 15th May for what turned out to be a most enjoyable and instructive farm walk.
We strolled in (unexpected) warm sunshine as Neil Anderson explained how he was taking advantage of farm legislation to encourage wildlife through creating hedges, headlands, ‘beetle’ banks and skylark nesting areas. He explained how he was using a ‘minimum tillage’ scheme that avoided the damage to soil fauna caused by conventional ploughing. Native wild flower species were being encouraged in the non-crop areas, and cowslip, red campion and knapweed were already in evidence. The pollen and nectar produced by these were ‘top of the food chain’ and resulted in greater insect, and therefore bird, numbers. A spinney of native trees had been established, to provide additional habitats. The Countryside Stewardship scheme and funding that Neil had successfully negotiated, also covered parts of Park Farm, including the Community Cherry Orchard.
The group proceeded, firing questions at a host who clearly knew his business, to Erriott Wood. Here a rotational scheme of sweet chestnut coppicing was providing a sequence of further habitats. The carpet of bluebells in a recently cleared area was magnificently Kentish. Neil reminded us all ,though, that the environmental work could not be done without the income from conventional crops. His included cereals, oilseed rape and linseed.
Retracing our steps, and enjoying several sightings of hares, we returned to a delicious tea and cakes ‘spread’ kindly provided by Jenny.
It was a delightful way to spend a spring afternoon, and the Society is most grateful to Neil and Jenny for their hospitality.
Images from the day can be found here.
* We understand that, since Neil and his brother have decided to farm separately, Neil’s part is now called Kingsdown Farm. I apologise for any confusion.