Throughout the UK, there are many passionate High Nature Value (HNV) farmers who are doing great things for wildlife and have an interesting story to tell, yet often their voice goes unheard.
The purpose of this website is to coordinate these voices, providing a platform to raise awareness of HNV farming systems and increase public understanding of the value these farming practices play in maintaining the iconic landscape and wildlife we cherish, through the stories of these HNV farmers.
These farmer stories are told through the case studies and video snippets, collected via individual interviews during 2013 to provide the personal reflections and the motivations of these farmers who work with nature. We will be adding more of these stories so if you are a HNV farmer please get in touch via the Contact page, as we would love to hear and share your story too.
This website is supported by the following partnership of farming and conservation organisations:
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is a national charity dedicated to conserving amphibians and reptiles and their habitats. Our work involves a diverse range of activities, including the management of 80 reserves, providing targeted advice and training to other land managers and conservation groups. Through our advocacy work we push for change; feeding into legislation and policy decisions to help protect wildlife, particularly amphibians and reptiles.
The sympathetic management of farmland, as addressed by High Nature Value farming, delivers the key requirements for many of our species, and promotes environmentally sustainable land-use benefitting wildlife and the wider-environment. Farmland is important, not just for food production but as a valuable resource for our wildlife; HNV farming will help to maximise this potential and as a result, reap rewards for nature.
Archaeology Scotland is a membership and educational charity promoting Scotland’s rich archaeological heritage. We recognise that HNV farming with its emphasis on low intensive production and the protection of significant habitats is best placed to manage change in our countryside by recognising the key features in our historic landscapes that make them important and valued by land managers and local communities.
Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and we are actively working to save Britain’s rarest little animals. Each invertebrate species plays a unique and important role in the web of life, but once lost, they cannot be replaced. The promotion of High Nature Value farming is key to ensuring the future for invertebrates in the wider countryside.
Butterfly Conservation is the largest insect conservation charity in Europe with 21,000 members in the UK, its main aim being the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats. HNV farmland is home to a wide diversity of moths and butterflies, many of which are threatened nationally. With our partners across Europe we are working to support HNV farming.
European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) is the only European organisation focusing on the maintenance of low-intensity livestock farming.
EFNCP’s aim is a viable economic future for High Nature Value farming across Europe, including the UK.
The Federation of Cumbria Commoners champions the FARMING side of High Nature Value farming. We are hill farmers who graze hardy breeds of sheep and cattle on the common lands of Cumbria and produce naturally reared meat and breeding stock from land in the harshest conditions. Our farming practices, developed over the centuries, also deliver wildlife, biodiversity, carbon storage, the protection of water resources, cultural heritage and the spectacular landscape of Cumbria.
The Foundation for Common Land is a registered charity established to protect the public benefits from pastoral commoning. Our supporters include commoners’ associations and federations, parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations. The active grazing of common land by farmers delivers environmental benefits to society including landscape, biodiversity, access, heritage, provides a fundamental component of our historic and on-going culture and makes a significant contribution to rural economies and the maintenance of local communities.
The NAAONB works to promote, conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Many of these iconic landscapes, especially those in the uplands and marginal areas, are sustained by HNV farming systems which deliver a range of public goods, alongside high quality food production and help ensure AONBs remain the UK’s Landscapes for Life.
The National Trust has one of the largest farmed estates in the UK with over 200,000 hectares of farmland (90% farmed by our 1,500 tenants). Farming therefore plays a critical role in our work, and the Trust is working to influence CAP reform in a way that helps deliver more public benefit from public money, secures a positive outcome for the countryside and HNV farming, and puts sustainable land management at the core of this approach.
Plantlife is the organisation that is speaking up for our wild flowers, plants and fungi. From the open spaces of our nature reserves to the corridors of government, we’re here to raise their profile, to celebrate their beauty, and to protect their future. Wild flowers play a fundamental role for wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscape. But without our help, this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost.
The RSPB is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in Europe with over one million members. Our work is focused on the species and habitats that are in the greatest danger, many of which depend directly on High Nature Value farming systems for their survival. We want to see a better package of support for HNV farming in the UK to secure a future for these existing farming systems which are so valuable for wildlife.
The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is the only member-led organisation dedicated to the promotion of crofting, a system of land use that is known for its positive environmental effects. Much of Scotland’s High Nature Value (HNV) land is found within the crofting counties and the SCF is keen to endorse any initiatives that raise awareness of HNV practice.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has worked with its members, partners and supporters in pursuit of its vision of healthy, resilient ecosystems across Scotland’s land and seas, successfully championing the cause of wildlife through policy and campaigning work, demonstrating best practice through practical conservation and innovative partnerships, and inspiring people to take positive action through its education and engagement activities.
South West Uplands Federation (SWUF) is a farmer led initiative representing hill farmers from Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor. SWUF provides a voice for hill farmers in South-west England. Our members are passionate about the uplands and wish to see their management of these national and internationally important areas continue to deliver an impressive array of public benefits.
As well as managing over 95, 000 hectares of our own land, The Wildlife Trusts also provide advice to thousands of landowners every year and provide them with practical help, for example through grazing schemes or machinery rings. We also deliver 174 Living Landscape schemes across 3 million ha of the UK. HNV farming systems are key components of a Living Landscape, supporting clusters of important habitats, such as flower-rich meadows, that we need to protect, extend and link, for the sake of future farming, wildlife and public health and wellbeing. We want to see the good practices demonstrated by HNV systems embedded in more farms and reward farmers for providing us with public goods and services such as clean water, flood management, pollinators and carbon storage.
Wildlife Trusts Wales is the umbrella organisation for the six Wildlife Trusts in Wales – Brecknock, Gwent, Montgomeryshire, North Wales, Radnorshire and South and West Wales (hereafter referred to as the ‘Wildlife Trusts’) working together in partnership to achieve a common aims. The Wildlife Trusts collectively speak on behalf of more than 28,000 members and manage over 200 nature reserves, covering more than 6,000 hectares of prime wildlife habitat, from rugged coastline to urban wildlife havens. Wildlife Trusts strive for a Living Landscapes including High Value Nature Farming, recognising this as an inspirational end point where our environment, society, and economy coexist for the benefit of wildlife and people.
Photo credits: Ruby Red Devon Cattle (Laura Whitehead)