Ranger's notebook - Farmland

Ranger's notebook. Section 4. Farmland

  • Centuries of farming have changed the look of the hill slopes: fields (different sizes), hedges, farm tracks and winding lanes. Farm buildings, hamlets and villages. Barn owls nest in (surprise surprise!)...old barns!
  • Traditional hill farming - need tough animals that can cope with being out in all weathers and poor grazing e.g. Scottish Blackface sheep, Exmoor ponies.
  • Fields near Bishops Lydeard.

  • Modern farmers need bigger fields, big machines, so some old hedgerows have gone. Colourful new crops - oil seed rape (yellow), flax (blue).
  • Not such good news for wildlife when the crops are grown with fertilizers and weedkillers, in big fields, but the farmer gets a better harvest. (Difficult balance!) Some choose traditional organic farming.
  • Hill farm and ponies.

  • Used to be lots of apple orchards, now hardly any.
  • Remains of big, old estates: parkland with very old trees (veterans), beech banks.
  • Sheep grazing in an old apple orchard.

  • Still plenty of space for wild plants and creatures in the lanes, field-hedges, copses and rough Grass. Spring flowers like the sheltered lanes, tall summer flowers (rosebay willow herb, foxgloves) like the sunny slopes.