Rare birds encouraged to flock to Belvoir Farm

A drinks producer in the Vale of Belvoir is proud of attracting rare breed birds to its site after creating habitats for them.

By Nick Rennie
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:46 pm
Keith Challen and Ben Larter inspecting the sustainable Coppice Willow on the Belvoir Farm
Keith Challen and Ben Larter inspecting the sustainable Coppice Willow on the Belvoir Farm

The likes of the Cuckoo and the Grey Partridge are regular visitors to Belvoir Farm as a result of its major nature stewardship project.

The Bottesford-based business has been creating cordials and sparkling drink for nearly 40 years, priding itself on respecting the countryside and supporting sustainable farming.

Through taking a nature-friendly farming approach, Belvoir Farm manager Keith Challen, has used this ethos across the 2,800-acre estate.

Keith Challen and Ben Larter inspecting the habitats at Belvoir Farm

The business took part in the annual Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Big Farmland Bird Count earlier this year.

Keith and ornithology expert, Ben Larter, who lives on the estate, recorded 47 different bird species on the farm, including Yellow Hammer, Reed Bunting, Brambling and Chaffinch.

Seven of these were rare breeds such as Grey Partridge, Willow Warbler and Cuckoo.

Keith said: “Small-scale conservation initiatives such as rain water harvesting and creating flower rich margins and grass buffers make such a positive difference to the environment, which all links into the bigger picture of conserving farmland bird species.

“It’s been great to hear the cuckoo on the farm at Belvoir.

"The project has helped provide habitat friendly areas for so many different species of bird and the results have also allowed for more scattered grazing for deer and hares.”

This year’s bird count involved almost 1,500 farmers spotting 130 species across more than 1.5 million acres in the UK.

Dr Roger Draycott, who runs the Big Farmland Bird Count, said: “Every count submitted helps us to build a detailed national picture of the state of Britain’s farmland birds, allowing us to better understand what is really going on in our countryside.

"It clearly shows that farmers, land managers and gamekeepers care for the land they work and, given that they look after 71 per cent of all the land in the UK, that is extremely good news for the future of our treasured bird species.“

Visitors to Belvoir Farm will have the opportunity to earn money by picking elderflower for the company’s drink, starting next month through to June.