The North Wessex Downs National Landscape Partnership has supported various farmer-led groups. We have provided financial support and resources to help establish several groups and to support the on-going efforts of those groups. We are proud to be associated with them and to provide our on-going support.
What are Farmer-led Groups
Farmer-led Groups, some of which are known as Farmer Clusters, are an initiative with some of its foundations within the North Wessex Downs. This bottom-up approach is driven by a group of farmers in a particular landscape such as a river catchment or along a ridge of chalk downland and together they seek to tackle different environmental challenges such as water quality, the historic environment or particular species such as grey partridge. At scale across a landscape, these farmers can be impactful as well as reinforcing community ties across farm boundaries.
The Marlborough Downs Partnership was originally setup in 2011 as a farmer-led Nature Improvement Area. It endures to this day having achieved significant changes to the landscape and engagement with local communities.
In the spirit of the Marlborough Downs group, the North Wessex Downs now contains ten different farmer-led groups or clusters. We have provided resources to support the establishment and development of a number of these farmer groups to help deliver environment-friendly farming at a landscape scale. Some of these groups are supported via the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund,via Farming in Protected Landscapes, from other sources including other Partnership funding, or are privately funded by the members themselves, or a blended approach.
Who and where are the groups
All the groups have a facilitator who is funded to coordinate the group, organise and deliver training for the farmers and engagement with members and the public and to provide technical support for their projects.
The existing farmer groups in our area include:
- Marlborough Downs Space for Nature
- Southern Streams
- Lower Pang & Kennet
- Upper Pang Valley
- The Ridgeway Group
- Pewsey Downs Farmer Group
- Wessex Farm Conservation
- North West Hampshire Downs
- Four Barrows
- Wessex Downlands