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Making links across the Suffolk Landscape

Three farming groups in South-east Suffolk have come together to develop a more wildlife friendly landscape.  Co-ordinated by a local land owner, AJ Paul and Diane Ling of Suffolk FWAG their aim is to encourage cooperation to sustainably enhance the landscape, its environment, habitats and species, beyond what is achievable when land holdings are managed in isolation. One key objective is to create stepping stones and corridors of habitats which will help wildlife move more easily around the countryside.

The three groups covering  the Sandlands, Felixstowe and Shotley Peninsula’s form an arc around Ipswich.  The 60 farms involved cover 54,000 acres (21,850ha) of one of the most intensively farmed parts of England. This area is also very rich in wildlife habitats, some of international importance and including heathland & dry acid grassland, Lowland meadows, Coastal & floodplain grazing marsh, Saltmarsh, Vegetated shingle, Saline lagoons and Riparian habitats. 

All three farming clusters fall within the Suffolk B-Lines and already provide some very important habitats for insect pollinators. Buglife will be working with FWAG and the farmers to highlight opportunities to further enrich the landscape for pollinators; providing additional food (pollen and nectar), shelter and nesting areas and making links between habitats. This will include enhancing and restoring existing grazing marshes and other grasslands, enhancing existing field margins, managing the distinctive local hedgerows and recognising the value of weedy areas and sandy tracks.  Buglife will be providing training sessions for farmers as well as helping to develop pollinator plans for some of the farms. It is hoped that over the next five years The Sandlands, Felixstowe and Shotley Peninsulas will become a pollinator friendly part of the UK-wide B-Lines network.

These farming groups are receiving some financial support from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme Facilitation fund.  However much of the time and work carried out is being done voluntarily by local farmers, volunteers and wildlife bodies.

For further info see – Natural England website

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