A couple farming in the Cotswolds have won an award for their conservation work.

Robert and Lynne Jackson’s 500 acre mixed farm, Manor Farm, in Sevenhampton, the Cotswolds, has a diverse range of wildlife habitats typical to the area alongside functional grazing pasture for beef and sheep and arable rotations.

The couple have been awarded the 2019 Barn Owl Trophy, which celebrates the best of farmland conservation and positive environmental practices across the south west.

With the help of agri-environment schemes over three decades, and advice from Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) SW, Robert has supported the return of biodiversity across his land.

This has included planting hedges, allowing wildflowers to thrive on steep grassland and spreading and planting wild bird seed mixes amongst other measures that benefit wildlife.

On receiving the award Robert said: “I am very proud to have been awarded the regional Barn Owl Trophy, this is a prestigious award and I am pleased to be part of it. I am always happy to take people around Manor Farm and I hope we can inspire others with some of the options for conservation that we have in place here. We are looking forward to being a part of the National Lapwing Awards later this year, and hope we can bring the trophy back to the south west.”

Additionally, Robert is particularly good at leaving standing dead wood in field boundaries for raptors to use; he also has a species rich limestone bank that he uses to donate seed to the Glorious Cotswold Grasslands project, which helps to protect limestone grassland as a very rare habitat. The consequences of these actions were clear to see and hear as we walked around the land.

At a landscape scale, Manor Farm fits into the Upper Coln natural flood management project and the work that Robert has done here to restore ponds and prevent erosion by cattle by fencing is mitigating against flooding in Andoversford.

Gary Rumbold, FWAG SW general manager said: “Robert has been a member of FWAG for around 40 years including playing a role in the formation of FWAG South West in 2011 so it is fantastic to see his hard work rewarded."

Read more: Gweek farmer wins FWAG South West's Cornwall Otter Award

The County Conservation Awards for 2020 are now open. These competitions are open in Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Gloucestershire. The winner of each award has the opportunity to host a farm walk and go on to represent their county in the regional Barn Owl Trophy. Entering or nominating only takes two minutes via the online submission which can be found at www.fwagsw.org.uk/Event/fwag-south-west-county-competition-entry.