Allerton Project

2016 was another good year for the Allerton Project in Leicestershire,with over 3,000 people visiting the farm; the project’s scale and scope clearly appeals to a wide audience across the food, farming, game management and conservation sectors.

The wide ranging interest in the project reflects the variety of work that the Kings team undertakes during the year as our partnership continues to develop.

Loddington

Game management

The shooting programme is based around the release of reared game that supplements the developing wild stock. Much work has been done with a variety of crops to improve the holding capacity of the farm so that the required habitat is available for game throughout the year. This has resulted in high quality shooting days from both improved existing drives and newly created ones.

With the ongoing challenge from badgers, maize is no longer grown at the site; cover is instead supplied by a combination of perennial strips that act as hedges, along with one and two year wild bird seed mixtures. The success of these is testament to the hard work of gamekeeper James Watchorn in establishing them with advice and guidance from Kings on crop selection, agronomy and ongoing management throughout the year.

Working together

Roger Draycott, Head of GWCT Advisory, explains, “Collaboration with Kings has been invaluable for the Allerton Project. One of the key aims is to demonstrate how running a shoot and improving biodiversity can go hand in hand. Kings’ technical input has enabled us to deliver game and conservation crops which provide top quality holding and driving cover for game alongside valuable feeding areas for farmland birds. With so many visitors to the Allerton project each year, it is vital that we have a wide range of crop types and seed mixes on display, as well as innovative ways of managing them. Working with Kings helps us to do just that. We are continually trying to improve and over the next few years we hope to further enhance the wildlife habitats on the farm.”

Stewardship

The farm continues to run an extensive HLS agreement which includes a range of options including wild bird seed, nectar flower, floristically enhanced margins and supplementary feeding. All the wild bird seed mixtures fit within the farming, sporting and agreement requirements and have become a great asset over the last four years. The pioneering supplementary feeding work encouraged Natural England to adopt this highly successful option. It is operated both out on the farm and also next to the visitor centre, so people can see firsthand the benefits progressive management brings to farmland birds.

 

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If you wish to visit or learn more about the Allerton Project, please contact us or visit the website www.gwct.org.uk


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