Tuesday 25 May 2021
Two years ago this spring, we set up the first Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster. Chaired by dedicated Chilterns farmer, Ian Waller and joined by a group of 18 fantastic local farmers, the cluster has gone from strength to strength. We are now excited to share a case study of its work, to both recognise and say thank you to the wide range of partners, funders, consultants, contractors, suppliers and volunteers that have helped set the cluster up and deliver such a wide range of projects so far.
The 18 farmers are rightly proud of their achievements and appreciative of the support they have received. Whilst the cluster is still young (with many more ideas and projects to deliver) the farmers want to showcase the vital role they are playing in driving Nature’s Recovery in the Chilterns.
The cluster was set up to support and encourage farmers to help understand the wildlife on their farms and how best to support it. The cluster is a great way for farmers to share ideas, get help from experts, deliver practical projects on their farms and have some fun along the way. By working on such a large landscape scale the benefits to wildlife really make a difference too.
The fantastic support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership Scheme has enabled the Chilterns Conservation Board to piece together a support package designed by the farmers, based on:
The cluster is showing how important this approach is to achieving landscape scale impact across the 6,500 hectares it covers, not only to support Nature’s Recovery but also in wider areas such as carbon storage, soil health and public access.
Over 50 organisations have provided direct support to the cluster and individual farmers. This support has ranged from:
In supporting the cluster our roles have been made so much easier (and great fun) by the fantastic support we have received. A genuine collaborative partnership effort, bringing together such a wide range of skills and expertise. Not to mention the great pie and pint meetings in the Gate pub in Bryants Bottom!
Even though it still feels like the cluster has really only just got started, there are many more ideas and projects in the pipeline for the coming months and years.
For more information please contact Nick Marriner