Increasing natural capital
Since 2015, the Trust, Burrough Court Estate, and its partners have worked together to make ecosystem function improvements as part of a Natural England Mid Tier Environmental Stewardship scheme. This included large scale capital and management improvements to habitats to be carried out on the Pickwell Farm over a 10 year period. Statutory organisations including the Environment Agency, Natural England and Leicestershire County Council were closely involved in the process and it was recognised that the stewardship plans were holistic in their approach to address multiple and integrated environmental issues including on and off site impacts, landscape scale approaches to reduce fragmentation, and implementation of new approaches.
The plan included the following elements, which in turn created opportunities for research and the development of mini projects.
- Extended habitat and wildlife corridors for wild birds and insects to provide important food resources for farmland birds, especially in autumn and winter – Total: 4.74 ha
- Improved hedgerow maintenance methods to increase blossom availability for invertebrates, provide a vital source of food for over-wintering birds by allowing fruit and berries to ripen, and improve the structure and longevity of hedgerows – Total: 715m.
- Management of 6m buffer strips to provide new habitat, protect existing landscape features and contribute to improving water quality – Total 2.15ha
- Management of buffer zones to woodland edges to allow a scrub and grass mosaic to develop on the strip of land adjacent to woodland – Total: 0.17ha
- Creation of 12-24metre buffer strips to protect water courses to reduce the risk of transport of potential pollutants, such as sediment, nutrients (principally phosphate) and pesticides, to watercourses- Total: 0.67ha
- Hedgerow laying, coppicing and gapping up to rejuvenate/ restore to achieve a continuous length of hedge – Total: 2.3km
- Increased planting of hedges to reduce fragmentation and create further wildlife corridors using locally occurring native species – Total 1.7km
- Improved flood management techniques using natural methods to slow water in ditches to allow pollutants to settle out and improve water quality and reduce downstream flooding: Total 6 silt filtration dams (leaky dams)
- Improvements in access routes to alleviate compaction and erosion problems caused by machinery movements – Total: 350m
- Creation of new sediment pond where muddy run-off from fields is allowed to pond so sediment will settle out– Total: 0.008ha
- Coppicing of bankside trees to benefit bankside habitat by restorative coppicing of overgrown trees – Total: 91 trees