Environmental Awareness is a wonderful term that means so many different things to different people. For some it is one and the same as "Organic", and yet if we were organic we would have to inject our cattle more as part of preventative medicine ("Organic" is a label with which we do not comply as we use man made fertiliser rather than risking disease from Chicken manure, the organic substitute). For others it is compliance with a given set of rules (e.g the Rural Stewardship Scheme) in order to get a subsidy. For us, along with many others,it is simply looking after the land in a way that optimises the enjoyment of the land by it inhabitants (human & non-human) against the money that it costs to sustain it as a viable business.
For example, we plow the stubble late in 70% of the fields as the cattle can graze it and the partridge/corn-bunting love it. The rest get ploughed earlier as the soil is so heavy that it takes the frost longer to break it down. We use a napoleonic system for water-harvesting to water the cattle, have whitewashed the cattle courts to save electricity and removed the ridge-tiles to reduce pneumonia in the calves. We've retained set-aside and beetlebanks, dry-stone dykes(walls) and hedgerows; we've even got two Sights of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the farm. At the same time, we've walked away from subsidies for wind power and geo-thermal heating as the payback simply didn't make economic sense.
Consequently we are privileged to have a huge array of wildlife living at Hardiesmill Place including:
We are also fortunate enough to have a whizzy weed (can't remember the name) that botonists travel hundreds of miles to see plus minimal light pollution (star gazing is compulsive on a clear night). Guests who stay in Jake’s Cottage (the old farmhouse, now a holiday cottage) are usually able to enjoy most of these, and some spectacular sunsets, in any given week.