Lucy Carnaghan has been recruited by the High Weald AONB Partnership as their new restocking coordinator and will help in the pilot project. The project is based on the findings of the “Restocking of the High Weald” report, which was featured in South East Farmer.
The High Weald has seen a large decline in stock between 2000 and 2010, with a 31% drop in cattle and 24% fall in sheep. Recognizing the importance of livestock farming for the area, the High Weald AONB Partnership commissioned a study to identify the causes of de stocking and to propose a range of measures to address these.
There are about 1,550 holdings in the High Weald AONB, an area that covers East and West Sussex, Kent and a small part of Surrey. The “Restocking the Weald” report details the struggles that graziers encounter with finding land that is accessible, affordable, well fenced and with an adequate water supply. In addition, it highlights the difficulties landowners have in finding reliable tenants who as well as grazing the land can improve it.
This pilot project aims to show that there are opportunities for enterprising livestock farmers to run viable businesses without having to overcome the huge barrier of land ownership. By building relationships between graziers who are looking for grass and landowners and farmers who are not necessarily farming the land, providing advice on land tenure and tax, and giving specific training and mentoring support, it is hoped that the stock numbers will in time start to increase.
Lucy Carnaghan is based in East Sussex, comes from an agricultural background and her experience of hands on farming, a degree in agriculture from the Royal Agricultural University and five years spent at rural agents Batcheller Monkhouse have given her passion for this project. Ms Carnaghan said: “I have been helping Tom, my partner, build up his farming business over the past eight years and have first hand experience of the challenges that are faced by farmers looking for more grazing. I am looking forward to connecting start up farmers with the pasture of non farming landowners and retirees.”
Jason Lavender, High Weald AONB director said: “Generations of Weald farmers and their livestock have created a breathtaking landscape of national importance – we should celebrate them and their efforts. Looking ahead, it’s clear that farmers and a buoyant and vibrant grass based livestock system are still vital for the future conservation of this much loved landscape.”
Those interested in more information on the project can contact Ms Carnaghan
T: 07950 427754 E: firstname.lastname@example.org