The Birds and Farm Landscapes (B&FL) project aimed to improve farmland habitats across a wide swathe of County Durham as part of the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership. A huge amount of conservation work, education and community engagement took place during the project lifespan between Autumn 2012 until Spring 2016.

A project officer was employed two days per week between December 2015 and August 2015 to work with farmers, land owners and members of the public to deliver a range of measures designed to benefit farmland birds including providing advice on topics such as grassland, hedgerow, woodland and arable management including greening, ecological focus areas and stewardship schemes.

Amongst other practical interventions, the project outcomes include:

  • Working with over 100 farmers
  • 550ha of land entered into Entry Level Stewardship
  • Over 1,250 boundary and in-field trees planted with appropriate livestock protection
  • Creation of 15 areas of low density farm woodland and wooded field corners
  • Restoration of three ponds
  • Over 7km of hedgerows coppiced and replanted including double fencing
  • 200 song bird boxes, 9 little owl boxes and 15 barn owl boxes erected
  • Volunteers conducted bird surveys, including winter surveys on wildbird mixes and full farm breeding bird surveys throughout the spring and summer (see video below)
  • 18 visits were conducted to primary schools and young people’s organisations
  • Arranged and delivered 31 talks and events to members of the public and local conservation organisations

Volunteers contributed greatly to the project and took responsibility for the project management including budgeting, accountant and reporting to the funders. Another volunteer created a project website, others carried out bird surveys and licenced bird ringers also assisted with nest box monitoring.

This presentation was produced by volunteers who were involved with the summer and winter bird surveys:

The Heart of Teesdale Landscapes Partnership was supported by Barnard Castle Vision, Durham County Council and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The B&FL worked in partnership with The Mid Teesdale Project Partnership, Trees for Cotherstone, Durham Bird Group, Natural England, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and North Pennies AONB.