Our Farmer Clusters
Our Farmer Clusters are proactive groups of farmers who come together to farm with wildlife and climate change in mind.
To help protect and enhance the nature, landscape and heritage of the Chilterns AONB, the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) works with farmers, landowners and land managers. We provide end-to-end support on everything from funding to practical management advice, monitoring wildlife to making new partnerships.
As part of this vital work, we encourage farmers and landowners to work together, form partnerships and aid nature’s recovery across boundaries. Conservation on this wider scale enables us to reinstate natural processes, such as water pathways and soil formation, and create stepping-stones for wildlife to move through the landscape in response to pressures. It also benefits us in lots of ways by providing natural resources, improving our health, and offering economic opportunities.
Lots of farmers and landowners already do great things for wildlife on their own patch, but we need to look further afield to aid nature’s recovery across the whole of the Chilterns. Our ‘Farmer Clusters’ support and encourage farmers to link their conservation efforts and to become more aware of the unique wildlife and habitats on their land and the land of their partners.
Our Farmer Clusters meet regularly to discuss and work on a variety of projects, such as:
- putting up bird and owl boxes to support key species;
- organising wildlife surveys to see which species are present to support sensitive management;
- planting hedgerows to support small mammals and birds;
- putting out supplementary feed for wild birds through the winter;
- dedicating field margins to the cultivation of wildflowers and chalk grassland to support pollinators and birds.
Dr Elaine King, Chief Executive Officer of the CCB, is keen to see this work expanded: “Scaling up this approach across the whole of the Chilterns AONB is central to delivering nature’s recovery. By providing a locally brokered approach, we can make sure that investment is targeted, and we achieve the landscape-scale connections that work for our farms and their wildlife.”