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By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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Farmer John’s May ’14 blog

Farmer John's May '14 blog

Farmer John’s May ’14 blog

1 May 2014

Four young(ish) women from Natural England appeared on the farm last Wednesday. This government department delivers policy regarding conservation and the land.  It therefore sets up, monitors and inspects projects, and doles out the money to farmers and land owners.  Our visitors were from the Internal Communications Team and were eager to connect with the great outdoors, not so easy coming from Whitehall, Bristol, Leeds or Brighton.
We first looked at the maps and fat book of instructions for our current ten year agreement. It goes into great detail about how the various parts of the plan should be managed, and the outcomes we should achieve. Grey partridge, brown hares, corn bunting and lapwings are some of the indicator species expected to flood into the area in due course.
Next it was on to the real thing, past and present. Our tour embraced the black barn restoration and thatching, miles of now well established hedges, wildflower and species rich meadows, lapwing nesting areas, skylark plots, a bat hibernaculum, toilets and educational access, tree planting, field margins, high nectar clovers for bees, areas for wild bird feeding – the list goes on and on. A farmhouse lunch followed and then they scurried off to catch trains back to their laptop worlds.  A thank you letter followed “our visit was a significant reminder of WHY we enjoy working for Natural England”.
I had the chance to stand and stare the other day, and saw a kingfisher for the first time for ages, then just watched a calf suckling from it’s mother and a woodpecker enjoying an early breakfast from a dead limb on an oak tree. It was a welcome change from looking at ewes for maggots or filling in forms. Knowing WHY we are doing something can make how we do it more bearable and even, possibly, enjoyable.

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
William Henry Davies