Good food and wildlife in Gloucestershire

Jonty Brunyee at Conygree Farm, Gloucestershire

Jonty and Mel Brunyee believe that good food, native breed livestock and wildlife conservation go hand-in-hand.

The couple farm 75 hectares (185 acres) of the Sherborne Park Estate, Gloucestershire.

Their aim is to develop an organic and sustainable farming system that improves soil quality. They are also restoring key habitats and building links with the wider community through local meat sales and education work.

Regenerating the landscape

At the heart of their regenerative approach is the restoration of 45 hectares (111 acres) of species-rich limestone meadow plus 14 hectares (35 acres) of herb-rich ley grassland and 3km of flower-rich field margin. These areas are a valuable resource for pollinators and other insects. Another 10 hectares (24 acres) of the farm are also managed specifically for farmland birds such as corn bunting, lapwing and skylark.

Rare breed livestock, including Traditional Hereford cattle and Cotswold sheep, graze outside all year round producing award winning pasture fed beef and lamb. Over 100 species of grass, wildflower and herb can be found in the Conygree ‘salad bar’ all adding to animal health and the terroir of the meat.

Producing better food

‘People are beginning to realise that slower growing, pasture fed, native breeds taste superb and are full of healthy omega 3s and other important nutrients,’ says Jonty. ‘They are also perfect for managing our more precious habitats and landscapes.

‘Farmland birds are a good indicator of farm environmental health as they need insects in the summer, seed in the winter and various habitats to nest in. We have lost much of this valuable mosaic at landscape scale. We all need to do more’