Farm Wildlife Survey

Martin Down Farmer Cluster – Farmland Wildlife Surveys

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Project Summary

This project is all about conserving wildlife on farmland surrounding the Martin Down National Nature Reserve. Local farmers are committed to working together to survey and protect a range of species and habitats in this beautiful area. We are looking for volunteers to help us monitor conservation outcomes over time.

Need to know

  • Start Date: 13/11/2018
  • End Date: 31/12/2018
  • County: Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire
  • Organisation Name: Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • Project Category: Species surveys


Project Description

Martin Down Farmer Cluster was formed in the Cranborne Chase area of Dorset and Hampshire in 2016. The aim of a farmer cluster is to collectively deliver more for wildlife, soil, water and community on a landscape scale.

This group has a particular focus on protecting Martin Down National Nature Reserve. An advisor from GWCT coordinates their conservation activities and organises monitoring of many of their target species. Ongoing projects include pond creation, increasing pollen and nectar sources and feeding farmland birds over winter. 

Since 2017 farmers, local residents and skilled volunteers have participated in species monitoring. Highlights from these ‘baseline’ surveys include new nesting sites for turtle dove, new colonies of small blue butterflies, and harvest mouse nests on every farm. Corn buntings were only officially known on the nature reserve prior to 2017, but surveys revealed 75 new territories on surrounding farmland. Thousands of species records have been submitted, and the farmers aim to continue this monitoring into the future to see whether their actions are taking effect.

We are looking for reliable, long-term volunteers that the farmers can build relationships with, who are available to help us monitor the farmland wildlife within the Martin Down area.