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North Devon Landowners join together to discuss management of Culm grassland

Posted: Thursday 14th July 2016 by NorthDevonNIA

Aoife O'Rourke discussing pollinator benefits. Photo:Harry Shadwell 2016Aoife O'Rourke discussing pollinator benefits. Photo:Harry Shadwell 2016

Amber Connett & Harry Shadwell who are NIA placement students recently attended a culm grassland management event organised by Devon Wildlife Trust and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

The event was held at Kennerland Farm near Woolfardisworthy, which is predominantly a sheep farm that also holds a small herd of cattle to graze nearly 8ha of beautiful culm grassland within the holding. The aim of the day was to get the area’s culm landowners together so they can share ideas on how they manage their culm and discuss the significance it holds. Culm is the name given to damp, unimproved grassland laid above the Culm measures. It is a unique, species rich habitat only found in south-west England so it is extremely important for us to protect the areas we have!

 

Richard sharing his management techniques with other landowners. Photo: Amber Connett

The day began with DWT staff describing the importance of the rare culm habitat and a walk through one of Kennerland Farm’s main culm fields. The habitat’s importance to wildlife such as pollinators, birds, insects and mammals was demonstrated even as we walked through the field with lots of insects flying up after every step and birds singing in every direction.

After an eventful stroll, climbing over tussocks and pulling each other out of bogs we all stopped for a discussion. The landowners seized the opportunity to discuss issues they face such as grazing and scrub clearance, problems they have overcome and potential new methods of management. Great ideas were being exchanged resulting in many coming away with new plans for their culm holdings making the day a brilliant success!

Rough ground made for an interesting walk. Photo:Harry Shadwell

 

 

Overall the day was informative as well as fun and provided a great opportunity for the sharing of ideas between the landowners themselves! Many thanks to Richard Cleave and his family for giving their time to host both the landowners and the DWT & BCT staff for the afternoon. 

 

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