Farm Walk: Lower Smite Farm - Worcestershire
14 March 2013 16:30 - 14 March 2013 19:30
Caroline Corsie, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Lower Smite Farm Worcestershire WR3 8SZ
Farm Background: 65 acres of Beef and arable. A lot of demonstration areas including , lavender, strawberries, blackberries, various green manures With around 75% of terrestrial wildlife living in the soil a thriving soil food web is vital to the recovery of the majority of farmland wildlife, most of which continues to suffer ongoing declines. Half the farmland at Lower Smite Farm is entering the second year of full organic status (OELS). The farm has five UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitats including arable field margins, species rich hedge and new meadows. We also have 5 BAP species including skylark, brown hare, great crested newt and slow worm.
Rebuilding humus and earthworm populations is a priority and we have planted a wide range of soil improving 'green manure' mixes including, chicory, red clover, cocksfoot, yellow trefoil and white clover to 'feed' the soil and encourage microbial activity. These mixes also provide good forage for cattle and we recently launched a 'wildlife friendly' beef box scheme in partnership with our grazier. We also grow winter and spring cereals, and have recently planted over 1ha of strawberries, blackcurrants and damsons. The lavender bed is entering its 3rd year and we have four bee hives. A neighbouring farming family rents some of the conventional land and their inputs are managed under our auspices (no metaldehyde, methiocarb, insecticides or neo-nicotinoid seed dressings). Another neighbour makes hay for us. We are also in the HLS and visitors will see some of the very new options e.g. temporary herb/legume rich swards, supplementary feeding of wild birds, floristically enhanced margins. Over 5000 children visit the farm every year and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has over 20,000 members. www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk
Attendance is free but advanced booking is absolutely essential. We will send out directions prior to the walk.