Forging ahead with Farming in Protected Landscapes in the Chilterns

Forging ahead with Farming in Protected Landscapes in the Chilterns

We have a new Farming in Protected Landscapes Officer, Gareth Clay, who joined the team this autumn. Here’s his update on the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme to date, including stories about some fantastic hedgerow and tree planting projects, and lots of enquiries and applications this autumn.

December Farming in Protected Landscapes update

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has seen lots more enquiries and applications over the autumn.

Farming in Protected Landscapes is a DEFRA fund for farmers and land managers in Protected Landscapes who have projects they would like to implement that fit with four programme themes:

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • People
  • Place.

Gareth Clay joined the Chilterns Conservation Board team in October as Farming in Protected Landscapes Officer and has been assisting colleagues with applications already in the pipeline, visiting and advising new applicants and supporting the Local Assessment Panel with their work in assessing applications.

The number of enquiries from different counties has been in line with their respective areas in the AONB (e.g. approximately 50% from Buckinghamshire and 28% from Oxfordshire).

As would be expected, farmers have been the main group making enquiries and projects ideas have been fairly equally spread across the themes of biodiversity, climate change, people and place. The funds for year 1 (2021/2022) have largely been allocated and there is lots of great work going on right now which will have long term positive impacts for the Chilterns.

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Hedgerow and Orchard Planting Projects


The largest project approved focuses on the positive management of hedgerows in the Central Chilterns Farm Cluster and work is now in progress planting new hedgerows, gapping up and bringing hedgerows back into appropriate management to maximise carbon sequestration and biodiversity benefits.





A newly planted hedgerow

Another project that got off the ground this autumn is the restoration and extension of a traditional orchard (supported by Nick Marriner, Landowner Engagement Officer for the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Project). The project is spread over three years and is well on the way to completing the planting of 103 fruit trees for year 1.


In total, 353 new trees will be planted in the orchard, comprising 95 varieties.

Stock proof tree guards are also being installed to allow livestock to graze in the orchard and the currently species-poor grassland will be managed to improve its diversity.

Ultimately, the orchard will be restored back to what would have been typical across farms in the Chilterns at the turn of the 19th Century – a fantastic heritage project which will also impact on carbon capture.

More updates on the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will follow in the new year.



Farming in Protected Landscapes

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