Sponsored: Fourth-generation farmer balances a passion for nature with running a successful business

Find out more about the hedgerow planting scheme offered by the Woodland Trust
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Ben Butler. Credit Phil Formby

Birds, pollinators and other wildlife now have a refuge to feed, rest, and nest on the 1000-acre Manor Farm in Avebury, Wiltshire. Ben Butler took over the mixed enterprise, combining arable and grassland with raising beef cattle and grazing ewe lambs, in 2014.

For Ben, balancing a profitable working farm while doing his bit for wildlife and conservation is “hugely important”.

“Should we be producing food or giving up farmland to wildlife?” he asks.” I think you can do both. We have been producing food on a good scale… but you don’t have to farm right up to the fence line. There is a place for wildlife.”

Ben applied for the Woodland Trust’s MOREhedges scheme in the spring of 2021, with 250m of native hedgerow trees delivered and planted last Christmas.

His long-standing interest in nature-friendly farming had already seen an increase in birds, flora and fauna – and the new planting will further enhance this by providing shelter and corridors for wildlife.

If, like Ben, you’re looking to create shelter and enhance biodiversity on your farm, the MOREhedges scheme offers the advice and support you need to plant with confidence. With a simple application process and choice of hedgerow mixes, the Woodland Trust can supply the trees and protection — and cover up to 75% of the cost. Apply now to receive your trees this planting season.

MOREhedges is funded by Lloyds Bank to support sustainable farming.

Apply now

The Woodland Trust, Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. Telephone 0330 333 3300.

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