Creating new habitats for wildlife in Wales

Chris James with his cows, Gupton Farm, Pembrokeshire

We’re working with farmer Chris James, who is taking a sustainable approach to farming at Gupton Farm.

This means providing wilder places for insects, birds and animals to thrive. This also helps create healthy and productive soil.

‘We have re-created over 40 hectares (100 acres) of dune grassland, introduced reed-bed cutting to the wetlands and opened ditches to establish new habitats for wildlife,' says Jonathan Hughes, our general manager in Pembrokeshire.

Farmer Chris has applied a technique called precision farming to the more productive land. This uses detailed analysis of nutrient levels in the soil to target fertiliser more carefully. ‘This means he uses fewer chemicals, which is better for water-quality,’ Jonathan says. ‘He has also sown 4 hectares (10 acres) of herb rich leys which are brilliant for insects, soil and cattle.”

Involving the community

In addition, 5km of new permissive paths have been laid to improve public access and a bird hide has been built to encourage wildlife watching.

Work is underway to conserve the traditional stone farm buildings and create a base for community use and activities.

'We’re also developing bunkhouse and camping accommodation,' says Jonathan. 'This will generate income, ease pressures on the nearby beach at Freshwater West and allow people to enjoy this amazing farm.'