The mix of both modern and traditional agriculture in the Trent Vale that gives the landscape its local character as well as providing important wildlife habitats.
The farming landscape
Farming plays an irreplaceable role in shaping the landscape with farmsteads in the Trent Vale usually located on higher ground in association with villages. Around these settlements small fields and orchards were common, but further away larger fields were present in an attractive mosaic of grassland and arable. In recent years this pattern has changed with increasing areas becoming arable land often at the expense of traditional grasslands, biodiversity and historical features. At the same time, development pressure around villages has reduced the number of traditional orchards, leaving remaining orchards at risk of abandonment.
Threats to the landscape
The demise of traditional mixed farming and pastoral systems, once a common sight in the Trent Vale, is the biggest risk to the landscape character threatening its areas of high environmental and historical value. Grassland no longer provides sufficient returns when compared to arable production and this will continue to cause further losses of historical and environmental features.
Major changes to agricultural support in the last decade or two have combined with ever diminishing returns to significantly alter the face of farming and the financial viability of many traditional holdings. This economic pressure has driven farmers to change how they operate, many choosing to simplify their enterprises. This leads to reduced biodiversity and risk to, or loss of, historical remains, especially where cultivation is introduced on former grassland. In recognising this, the government, through agri-environment schemes such as the Higher Level Scheme (HLS), has provided incentives to landowners to maintain and protect the landscape.
Farmland contains some important habitats that support a wide variety of wildlife such as pockets of important grasslands such as The Holmes, hedgerows, ditches and ponds. Important species such as lapwing, skylark, corn bunting, tree sparrow, yellowhammer, water vole, bats and many more are all present on farmland and it is important that they are protected so that they can thrive into the future.
What are we doing?
Considering environmental issues is a vital part of farm management, and there are a number of government schemes available that provide incentives to manage land sympathetically for wildlife. To compliment these schemes, the Trent Vale Landscape Partnership is running a Habitats and Heritage Grant Scheme for Farmers and Landowners.
Trent Vale is also able to provide land management advice to farmers and landowners through Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.