Rob Jones, Sherborne Farm
Farmer Rob Jones is hosting the Springwatch team at his farm in the heart of Sherborne Old Park. Dad-of-four Rob, 52, has been farming on the Cotswolds estate for 25 years.
Describe Home Farm
We have got around 800 acres. There used to be a dairy farm here, but we stopped dairying in 2012. We now run around a thousand ewes on the parkland and water meadows, as well as having about 350 acres of arable.
It’s an incredibly beautiful area of the country – very peaceful.
What do you do for wildlife on the farm?
We’ve been here since 1993. When we applied for the tenancy the National Trust did quite a lot of work on re-letting the farm. A Farm and Environment plan was drawn up which was quite a ground-breaking thing at the time.
It listed all the different aspects of the farm – from the archaeology through to entomology. Everything from the location of an ancient Romano-British settlement to rare red data book species of beetles.
We’re now in a Higher Level Stewardship scheme. We’ve got water voles on our water meadows, so there are prescriptions in our agreement with Natural England to manage the river bank for the voles – cutting at certain times and keeping stock off the Water Meadows at certain times of the year for breeding waders.
What's the best thing about being a farmer?
It’s a lifestyle. You’re working in an incredible environment where you’re your own boss.
And the worst?
It's a very challenging farm to manage, abiding by all the various prescriptions set out in the tenancy agreement.
How have you found having Springwatch on the farm?
It’s been interesting. I was just out with the nature producer. They’re going to put a camera in the nesting box to film the barn owls in our barn.