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AONB: Cranborne Chase

South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project

The South Wiltshire Farmland Bird Project has focused on reversing the decline of six farmland bird species, focusing on creating year-round habitat. 147 farmers have received bespoke advice and 1000ha of new habitat has been created. Mid-term surveys are showing this work is having the desired effect on over 40% of the species concerned. Habitat improvements include safe nesting habitat (particularly for ground nesters e.g. lapwing); summer insect food for chicks and winter seed food for adults. The project is part of the wider South West Farmland Bird project also covering the Cotswolds, Dorset and the North Wessex Downs AONBs.

Mid term surveys suggest that 42% of species assessed showed a significant positive population response to FBP management compared to population trends on BBS squares, with a further 27% showing non-significant responses.

The Project aim was to reverse decline of six farmland bird species; corn bunting; grey partridge, lapwing, tree sparrow, turtle dove and yellow wagtail. (Species have declined between 60 and 95%).

Project Adviser funding came from Natural England, Cranborne Chase AONB & Wessex Water. Wessex Water also provided grants for capital works.

Farmers were encouraged to adopt ‘the farmland bird package’, creation of year-round bird habitat largely funded through NE’s Environmental Stewardship schemes.

1. safe nesting habitat (particularly for ground nesters e.g. lapwing);

2. summer insect food for chicks  

3. winter seed food for adults