Farming in Protected Landscapes Case Study:

Habitat improvement in East Bergholt

£16,066 was granted to Old Hall from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme over the two years 2022-24 to improve the wildlife value of the grounds of the community through wide hedgerow creation, tree planting and the restoration of two ponds.

As a busy community, as well as a farm, Old Hall has lots of visitors of all ages from around the country. Most of them have some interest in the environment and community members are keen to share their knowledge and experience with interested individuals and groups.

The photo shows one of the ponds after it had been mechanically dug out to remove the silt, and some of the bankside vegetation and dying ash trees, which shaded the southern side of the pond, had been removed.

The work was done under the guidance of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, who advised that the deeper, cleaner pond will have a beneficial impact on the invertebrates using the meadow such as dragonflies and damselflies, providing an ongoing food and shelter source.

Much of the work was done manually by members of the community and local volunteers. New hedges have been planted which will serve the dual purposes of benefiting nature by replacing existing barbed wire fencing with thick, well-managed, native hedgerows, while continuing to enable conservation grazing of the meadows either side.

They also provide connectivity between wooded areas, and have been designed with two rows of planting with trees between to maximise their benefit. Over the hot and dry summer of 2022, a huge amount of watering was needed to allow the plants to flourish.

Community members designed an effective irrigation system to ensure they received the water they needed. Next year, further work will take place to develop the environmental benefits of this unique community farm.