Rotherfield Demonstration Site (UK)The Rotherfield demonstration site is situated in east Hampshire, between East Tisted and Selborne, farmed by Rotherfield farms and a tenant farmer. The PARTRIDGE demonstration project area is farmed as a mixed arable farm, with a dairy and cattle herd. The most common crops are winter wheat, barley and oats, rape, spring barley, winter beans and maize.
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has been actively involved in wildlife habitat and predator management decisions on 300ha of the 500ha PARTRIDGE demonstration site since 2010, when the Trust started the Rotherfield demonstration project which aims to bring back a viable population of grey partridges to an area where they had gone extinct (see our Rotherfield Park blog for further details). Current habitat improvements mainly focus on wild bird seed mixes, arable margins, beetle banks, overwintered stubbles and wildlife-friendly hedgerow management.
The ongoing project also demonstrates how modern farming under a Grey partridge tailored HLS Agri-environment Scheme can allow for a wild gamebird shoot and how this approach leads to significant biodiversity benefits.
In autumn 2017, we counted 101 wild grey partridges on 500ha. In 2004, when counting began, there were none (see here for further details).
The Grey partridge recovery project has not only benefited the red-listed grey partridge but also other wildlife such as yellowhammers, skylarks, linnets and barn owls (see here for further details). Hares, harvest mice and butterflies are on the increase too.
During the course of PARTRIDGE we are expecting to further increase key farmland species in the project area by up to 30%.
For further details, please contact:
Dr Francis Buner
Senior Conservation Scientist
Head of PARTRIDGE Interreg NSR project
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
Rotherfield Demonstration project blog: http://www.gwct.org.uk/blogs/rotherfield