Land Use and Management
For May we have a visit to the organic Yatesbury House Farm, and in June we will be meeting again on Zoom , see below for details.
Please email inputs to email@example.com and register below for zoom links.
Site Visit to Yatesbury House Farm, Thursday May 12th 2022 5:30pm
In May we have a tour with talk and refreshments of Yatesbury House Farm, an interesting organic mixed 673 ha family farm, on the Wiltshire downs near Avebury and Calne.
Numbers will be limited so please register in advance, but email Sue the orgniser as soon as possible if you later find you can't come on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Monday 20th June 2022 meeting - with Anya Doherty of Foodsteps (tbc)
Foodsteps was founded by Anya while she was researching sustainable food systems at the University of Cambridge. Anya’s work included co-leading the largest experimental trial to date into carbon labelling for food, and undertaking an environmental impact assessment of Cambridge’s own food offering.
Foodsteps are at the forefront of the push to get in place a comprehensive ‘traffic light’ labelling system for food so consumers can make choices which reduce environmental impacts. They also work with firms creating food products to assess, reduce and explain their carbon footprints.
April 2022 meeting
Our speaker was Shinya Imahashi from Yatesbury Natural Agriculture Farm who talked to us about ‘Shumei’. This is a Japanese system of ‘Natural Agriculture’ which places health, beauty and love at the core of its activity. This was a chance to see a different way of viewing cultivation practices as Shumei sees farming as an ‘art whose product touches your soul’. There is an emphasis on a balanced eco system starting from healthy soil.
March 2022 meeting - with Peter Thompson on Farming alongside Nature and Farm Clusters
Farming alongside nature: Peter Thompson originally trained as an Agronomist and spent 10 years advising farmers on growing crops. He then decided to add his agricultural knowledge to his real love of conservation, and so has spent the last 30 years advising farmers on how to farm alongside the natural world. He ran the pilot scheme for Farmer clusters – where farmers join forces to manage land on a landscape scale - which has now very much joined mainstream national thinking. https://www.farmerclusters.com/
Tree planting in Wiltshire: The Council Climate Emergency Task Group held a meeting to review progress on the key message they gave to Council on the importance of trees in the fight to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Speakers included Dave Woods, Director of Avon Needs Trees and Rosie Walker, External Affairs Officer (SW) Woodland Trust. General conclusions were that there was still much to do but there are a number of encouraging signs for progress in the county. Officers are in the process of finalising plan for supporting progress.
January 2022 meeting - with Simon Watchorn
Catherine's contact who is a knowledgeable farmer in Suffolk and involved with the levy-funded Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board gave a very interesting talk, notes to follow.
October 2021 meeting
Part 1: guest speaker Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association, farmer, restaurateur and hotel owner talked about her fascination with the complexities of farming and her views of its future.
Helen, based in Bishopstowe, east of Swindon, knew from an early age that farming was for her, she told her father she wanted to be a ‘proper farmer’ aged just 9. In 1986 by the time she was 24 her father had passed the reins on to her and not long after, she began the journey converting Eastbrook Farm to organic.
Part 2: our responses to Wiltshire Council's Green and Blue Infrastructure strategy. WCA submitted a response to the Council: thanks to all who contributed.
We previously had our first meeting with Lynn Trigwell and Paul Robertson, WC GBI, after sending them our draft responses.
Sue gave an update on the key points in our response and some exciting ideas on how we can progress with GBI in our communities.
We're looking to grow local action, starting with developing a proper understanding of our local areas using the Community Environmental Toolkit developed by the Council.
August 2021 meeting - Farming Clusters etc - notes and links here
Catherine has made a very good start on getting an overview of farming in Wiltshire and the existing farm clusters, listed in the notes. Some other links are listed for further research.
July 2021 meeting - notes and links here
Jo talked about her work that is ongoing with the DEFRA Nature Recovery Network , where there is a nationwide scheme being developed to create a map of the country showing areas that are already protected for wildlife, and areas suitable or having potential for protection, regeneration or connection corridors. This is a perfect fit with what we’re trying to do and something we’d be very keen to help with. More local information on the West of England Nature Partnership site, https://wenp.org.uk/nature-recovery-network/
Sara says Rewilding Britain’s vision is “….to see rewilding flourishing across Britain, reconnecting us with the natural world, sustaining communities and tackling the species extinction crisis and climate emergency. We want to live in a world where we face up to the scale of destruction we’re heaping on this Earth, put an end to further degradation and start to recover what we’ve lost”. You can join the rewilding network free at https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/the-rewilding-network/join
Wiltshire Council 'Community Environmental Toolkit'
At our June meeting, Paul Robertson, Landscape Officer at Wiltshire Council, gave presentations on: Community Environmental Toolkit (CET); Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI); the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS); and central govt progress on the Environment Bill. For more details see: