Brentingby Meadows

Quality English meat from Leicestershire's grazing lands

butterflyWe are proud that our mixed farm provides habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. The River Eye, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, supports a wide range of wetland and aquatic flora as well as many animals and insects, including otters, watervoles, dragonflies and damselflies. The white-legged damselfly is a particular speciality of our farm.

Our hedgerow network is extensive and well-managed, many are hundreds of years old, with ash and field maple plentiful as the natural hedge tree species. The older ashes provide roosting and nesting sites for barn owls and several of our hedges and ponds have een designated as local wildlife sites.

Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme we have undertaken a programme of work to improve the conservation value of the farm. This includes hedge-laying to rejuvenate the hedges, pollarding of old willows and small-scale tree planting. Some of the small field ponds, wet ditches and streams have been fenced to keep the livestock out of the water. We've created a network of grassy margins around many of our fields to provide habitat for meadow butterflies, beetles and small mammals, which will in turn encourage the barn owls.

birdFrom 2010 we will be continuing this work through Higher Level Stewardship. We have recorded nearly 100 species of birds on the farm including many red and amber listed species. Since 2008 we have been monitoring populations with the help of a local bird ringer. We also have several red book flowering plants and protected species, such as bats and great-crested newts.

Some of our old pastures and meadows don’t receive any artificial fertiliser and we are managing the hay meadows to encourage a range of flowers and grasses. The small patches of seed-bearing plants that we have planted to feed the birds in winter attract large numbers of tree sparrows, linnets, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches and reed buntings.

We also provide opportunities for groups to study the wildlife through our farm tours and visits.