Farming with Nature

Farming with Nature

Ben Watkins 

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is working with hundreds of farmers across Cornwall, encouraging methods which benefit wildlife on land and in the rivers.

Eighty percent of Cornwall is farmed. The countryside is dominated by grass pastures for beef and dairy cattle, with daffodils and food crops grown on the more fertile soil. Farming is vital to feed a growing population but must be managed in a way which sustains long term food production and a healthy ecosystem.

When land is managed to produce food and protect wildlife, species will be able to move and thrive beyond the wildlife hotspots like Nature Reserves. In practice this means protecting the remaining wild places on farms, looking after hedgerows and rivers which are important wildlife corridors, and ensuring pastures and cropping land are also managed to provide food, shelter and nest sites for wildlife.

Well managed farmland also provides many other functions like cleaning water, holding back floodwaters and storing carbon.


Free practical support

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has a team of farm advisers and ecologists who work to build relationships with farmers, finding ways to make space for wildlife which are complementary to farm business.
The farm advisers are all qualified in Basis FACTS.

  • Soil testing and nutrient management planning
  • Support with applications to Countryside Stewardship
  • Funding towards infrastructure like guttering, track work, alternative cattle drinking
  • Ecological surveys and advice on managing wildlife habitats
  • Practical tasks from a skilled volunteer group, including Cornish Hedge repairs and scrub management


Current projects

Our work with farmers is project based and tends fall within geograhpic boundries, with fixed timescales and outputs. Projects are funded by private and public bodies which also stand to benefit from well managed farmland. South West Water is a major funding partner; cleaner rivers and reservoirs mean lower costs involved in drinking water treatment. Upstream Thinking is a good example of a project where everyone is a winner.

Click on a project area for more info.


Get involved

The ‚ÄėWild‚Äô volunteer groups carry out hands-on conservation in the three Upstream Thinking catchments every Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to find out more, please contact David May on¬† For other volunteering opportunities with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, check the¬†volunteering¬†page.

Our funders

We are grateful to our funding partners for facilitating our Living Landscapes objectives.


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