Posted 16th Jul 2018 by Peter Byrne
Farmers are to work together to help local wildlife on the Devon and Somerset border, Butterfly Conservation (BC) has revealed
One creature to hopefully benefit will be the Marsh Fritillary - the nationally scarce butterfly is declining across Europe but can be found in small numbers across the two counties, including the Blackdown Hills.
Both landowners and farmers who are working in the area have been invited to join Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton for the launch of the 'Blackdown Hills Farming and Woodland Group' on Friday 20 July.
The group is free for local landowners to join, with members encouraged to work closely with their neighbours to share skills and land management techniques, while there will also be training on helping local wildlife including the Marsh Fritillary.
The project, which will run for three years, will be led by Butterfly Conservation (BC) and the Blackdowns Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and has financial support from the EU and funding from Natural England.
BC's project facilitator, Gavin Saunders, said: "There is a lot of great work taking place within the farming community to help wildlife that often goes unnoticed."
"This project is about shining a light on those good practices, sharing experiences and providing support and training for landowners in ways that will benefit them and the environment."
Tim Youngs, Manager at the Blackdown Hills AONB, said: "We are delighted to be a part of this project, helping to support the Blackdown Hills Farming & Woodland Group who will collaborate to secure a viable future for the rich heritage features across their collective land holdings farms in this nationally protected landscape and at the same time build more economically resilient farm businesses, at this time of unprecedented change."
The launch will take place on Friday 20 July at Smeatharpe Village Hall between 2:30pm and 5:30pm, while those attending will be able to find out more, while there will be a chance to take a guided walk on a nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Image courtesy of Amanda Cuff