Henry Edmunds of Cholderton Estate won the regional round of the competition for his achievements in looking after wildlife and the environment while running a productive arable and sheep farm.
He will now go on to selection for the final round of the competition, which aims to find the UK’s most wildlife-friendly farmer.
Trace Williams, speaking for the RSPB in Wiltshire, said: “Cholderton Estate is an impressive example of what it’s possible to achieve for wildlife within a commercial farming system, and shows that conservation needn’t clash with profitability.”
Henry has spent over 30 years balancing modern agriculture and the preservation of the countryside. Hampshire Downs sheep graze the chalk grassland that is alive with flowers and buzzing with insects, including rare bumblebees, moths and butterflies. Corn bunting, lapwing and grey partridge thrive amongst the crops, alongside the diminutive Harvest Mice and rare arable plants such as Cornflower and Pheasant’s-eye. This abundance of wildlife sits neatly alongside food production where the harvest delivers a healthy landscape, economy and environment.
Mr. Edmunds said; “’I am very pleased to have won the South West Nature of Farming Award. This is not only a reflection of the conservation work being carried out at Cholderton but also of the long standing working relationship with the RSPB. In recent years numbers of breeding Lapwing and Corn Bunting have increased significantly and extremely rare plants like Martin’s Ramping Fumitory have developed into large colonies’. “ The eight regional winners will now be shortlisted to four finalists by a panel of judges.
Then, from 20 July, the UK public will be invited to decide the UK winner by casting their votes by phone, post, online via The Telegraph, or at country shows throughout the summer.
News on how to vote will appear on the website www.rspb.org.uk/farmvote.
The competition is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.
The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development in the European Union.