High Fen is a haven for wildlife in particular wading birds and wildfowl. Following lengthy discussions with Natural England and advice from Thyme Consultants, an environmental advisor, we entered a scheme with Natural England to try and produce the right environment for wading birds, especially Lapwing.
Part of this agreement was to raise water levels in November to produce splashes all around the farm and then gradually let them fall in the late spring and early summer to create the ideal conditions for wader chicks to live and feed.
© Henry Walker - Norfolk FWAG
We have had help and advice from the RSPB with bird counts and the construction of a ten acre site for nesting cranes. The British Trust for Ornithology monitor the farm on a monthly basis and have now sighted over 160 different bird species. Over wintering wildfowl, waders and lapwing numbers now reach 8000-9000, with over 500 Bewick and Whooper swans roosting on the splashes most nights.
We have won a “highly commended” in the RSPB Nature of Farming awards 2012 and were in the final six for the awards presented at the House of Commons by the Farming and Wildlife advisory Group 2011 and recently we were also ''runner up'' in the Ian MacNicol Memorial Trophy 2014. Our sheep and cattle are vital to the maintenance of the grassland that benefits the wildlife. Our aim is to continue the work we have done over recent years and to manage the farm with the environment in mind.