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 as well as rape, spring barley, peas 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 aimed to bring back a viable population of grey partridges to an area where they had previously 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.
In this short video Tim Furbank from #Oakbank explains the new #GWCT #PARTRIDGE @NorthSeaRegion flower mix. It is tailored to the needs of grey partridges, but also benefits a wide range of other declining farmland wildlife. The only thing we need is more of it - everywhere! pic.twitter.com/5UULAoKU6s
— Francis Buner (@fbuner) May 18, 2018
The ongoing project also demonstrates how modern farming under a grey partridge tailored HLS Agri-environment Scheme can allow for a sustainable wild gamebird shoot and how this approach leads to significant biodiversity benefits.
In autumn 2018, we counted 101 wild grey partridges on 500ha, which resulted in 28 spring pairs in 2019. In 2004, when counting began, there were none.
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. Hares, harvest mice and butterflies are on the increase too.
During the course of PARTRIDGE we have already seen an avg. 40% increase of all red- and amber-listed farmland birds found on the Rotherfield demo site during the breeding season (including yellowhammer, skylark, linnet, dunnock, song thrush, bullfinch and tree pipit) as well as a 130% increase of brown hares. We hope that this trend will continue throughout the rest of the project.
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