Environmental farming for the future
In 2010, Penpont Farm was accepted onto Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme. The scheme aims to deliver significant environmental benefits to priority areas and we were chosen for our extensive archaeological sites on the farm and our participation in the Amble Marshes SSSI.
It involves more complex environmental management requiring support and advice from our local advisers, to develop an agreement that achieves a wide range of environmental benefits over a longer period of time.
The Walmsley Bird Sanctuary which forms part of the Amble Marshes Water Level Management Plan is a very important wetland haven for wild birds especially in winter and is designated for wintering wading birds and supporting wetland habitats. We have allowed raised water levels in the Amble Marshes SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and promote sensitive grazing to support wetland birds.
As part of the scheme, we have extended our farm trail which is now classed as a permissive footpath taking in many wildlife spots of interest around the farm and wetlands and now also incorporates a new bird hide that overlooks one of our ponds. Andrew also runs a farm tour every Wednesday during the summer, taking visitors around the farm in a large trailer drawn by tractor.
The farm also has a wealth of important archaeology including a nationally important complex of Iron Age – Roman period settlement enclosures with associated boundaries, tracks and field systems. The complexity of these features and proximity and probable association with Killbury Hillfort make them of particular significance. The farm also has a very rare feature known as a cursus – a prehistoric monument consisting of a long narrow parallel-ditched enclosure.
Over the years we have built several ponds and planted lots of the trees to provide shelter. We’ve also rebuilt lots of gaps in stone hedges and then fenced them off for protection.
We are careful with the sprays we use and use only where necessary. When working in the field (e.g. silage) we are very mindful of birds and animals and we never work in the dark. Arable fields have been reverted to grass to protect important archaeology.
We are also business members of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust which is a fantastic way for our business to get involved with the Trust by helping us to protect Cornwall’s wildlife for future generations. During our woodland fun activities we have been pond dipping, built bug hotels and bird boxes that we put around the farm, all of which helps our guest get
closer to nature.