Farm wildlife transformation wins national conservation award
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:09 03 July 2019
A Norfolk farm which was transformed from a lifeless "prairie" into a wildlife-rich oasis has won a national accolade for its outstanding commitment to environmental management.
Charles Inglis, of Hole Farm at Hempstead, near Holt, has won the Silver Lapwing Award, presented by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to recognise farmers who go the extra mile to protect and enhance the countryside, alongside profitable food-growing enterprises.
When his family first arrived at the farm in 1982, he said it was lacking trees, hedgerows and wildlife, and the exposed fields were suffering soil erosion at a rate of 150 cubic metres per hectare, per year.
But now the huge open fields have made way for a mosaic of insect-rich hedgerows and woodland, around arable crops fringed with floristic margins and wild birdseed plots, and dotted with 14 new ponds - all of which provide food and habitats for a rich abundance of bird and insect life.
READ MORE: How a Norfolk farm was transformed from a lifeless prairie into a thriving wildlife oasis
The Silver Lapwing trophy was presented to Mr Inglis' father-in-law Robin Carver at a ceremony hosted by the previous winners at Castletown Farm in Cumbria.
Mr Inglis said: "What an honour to be presented with the Silver Lapwing Award, particularly against such stiff competition. It is a special moment for myself and my parents-in-law Robin and Rose Carver, this will motivate us to continue our conservation work at Hole Farm.
"We are so thrilled and very proud to have been presented this award which will be in pride of place for the next year."
Silver Lapwing head judge Charles Beaumont said: "The competition was incredibly tough this year, with seven exemplar finalists. However, our deserving winner Hole Farm is an exceptional example of a Lapwing Award winner.
"Charles Inglis and his father-in-Law Robin Carver have transformed Hole Farm in Norfolk into a wildlife haven and a superbly successful business. It is farms like Hole Farm that are the reason we have this competition - an incredibly worthy winner for 2019."
Chris Butler, chairman of the FWAG Association, added: "Charles Inglis is a prime example of how to farm with conservation and business in mind and he has been recognised for this dedication."