'Being perched on the very tip of the country brings both its delights and challenges,' says Rona. 'Every day we go to work in the most spectacular wild scenery, and every year we welcome rare and special birds – from Cornish choughs to meadow pipits.'
Choughs are breeding successfully, helped enormously by the way Rona and Nevil work their fields. When their cattle graze they leave shortened grass and rich soil – the perfect place for the choughs to find worms and leatherjacket larvae. By following a program of steady rotation, introducing more mixed crops and using grazing patterns they are steadily building a stable, productive soil that also supports wildlife.
Rona and Nevil Amiss farm 240 acres of small fields, separated by Cornish hedges. These ‘hedges’ are made up of stone banks, shrubby plants and wild flowers such as red campion and wild carrot. These delightful, criss-crossing hedges make perfect wildlife corridors through the patchwork of fields. Along streams they’re also planting ‘buffers’ of fenced-off blackthorn, hazel and other native plants to protect watercourses and create new habitats for voles and owls.