WELCOME TO THE PEWSEY DOWNS FARMERS GROUP
Farming together to enhance the wildlife and landscape of the Pewsey Downs & Vale
WHO WE ARE
The PDFG was set up following the desire of farmers in the area to work collaboratively to enhance the local landscape for wildlife. The group was formed in 2016 and now includes more than 20 farmers covering over 10,000 hectares on the chalk downland and Vale between Devizes and Pewsey in Wiltshire.
WHAT WE DO
PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE FARMING
Farmland dominates the landscape of the Pewsey Downs and Vale. The farming enterprises present in the area are diverse and include arable, beef, sheep, pigs and dairy and both organic and conventional systems. We are encouraging methods and practices which produce healthy food whilst being economically viable and environmentally sound to protect our soils, water and to address climate change.
IMPROVE FARMLAND FOR POLLINATORS
Most crops and wildflowers rely on insect pollination by species including bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Pollinating insects also provide valuable food for farmland birds including corn bunting and tree sparrow. We are providing flower-rich habitats through out the landscape to ensure a healthy community of pollinating insects.
PROVIDE HABITAT FOR FARMLAND BIRDS
With its mixed farming landscape the Pewsey Downs are nationally Important for the farmland bird populations they support like grey partridge, corn bunting, tree sparrow and yellow wagtail. We are working to provide year round habitat for them including nesting habitat, seed during the winter and insects during the summer.
PROTECT OUR ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE
The Pewsey Downs contains over 100 nationally important Scheduled Ancient Monuments. This includes the impressive Wansdyke and Bronze-age burial mounds. We are working to ensure the long-term survival of these historic features by undertaking activities such as scrub removal, and removing earthworks from arable cultivation.
IMPROVE THE KENNET & AVON CANAL AS A CORRIDOR FOR WILDLIFE
The canal forms part of our southern boundary and is an important habitat for a range of aquatic wildlife including otters and water voles. We are managing farmland next to the canal to improve it as an important corridor for bats. This includes planting hedgerows and converting Second World War pill boxes to provide roosting sites.
ENHANCE AND JOIN-UP OUR FLOWER-RICH DOWNLAND
We have over 500 hectares of chalk grassland in our area including Pewsey Downs National Nature Reserve. It is a immensely diverse habitat and can support over 40 flowering plants in one square metre. The plants support a wide variety of insects which in turn are an important food source for birds. The grassland relies on livestock farming being grazed by sheep and cattle to maintain the balance between grass, flowers and scrub. We are working to link fragmented areas of chalk grassland to help species associated with this habitat to move around the landscape.