Introducing farmers of the Thame catchment
Questions & Answers with land managers of the Thame
1: Phil White D’Oyleys Farm
Where and what do you farm?
D’Oyleys Farm is a 250 hectare mixed family farm, with grazing livestock and arable, based in the village of Stadhampton in South Oxfordshire. We have 70 suckler cows – a mixture of Beef Shorthorn and Angus, that we graze on our river meadows; these cows suit the farm and our low-input grazing system. We also have about 300 ewes that we lamb in the spring. We finish all the lambs on our herbal leys. We have always produced traditional free-range turkeys at Christmas time and recently we have started rearing slow-grown pasture fed chickens all year round. We grow milling wheat, along with barley, oats and peas. As well as the home farm we also rent some land and buildings at Rofford Farm.
Christmas Flooding stresses the need for Sustainable Solutions
Storm Bella hit the UK this Christmas period. In the East Midlands, recent heavy rainfall meant the intense rain fell on already saturated ground, causing significant flooding across Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Seventy flood warnings were issued – over 30% of these were on the Great River Ouse. There were more than 160 flood-related calls and 1,300 people were advised to leave their homes. Continue reading
Earlier this month farmers from the Thame Valley farmer cluster joined River Thame Conservation Trust and Natural England staff to discuss current agri-environment schemes, how these might be changing, and what part they could play in the development of catchment-wide water and wildlife friendly farming practices. We are in the early stages of this partnership project, which was developed to tackle the complex and difficult to mitigate impacts of agriculture on the River Thame, its tributaries and the wider catchment. We have a range of advice documents for landowners on our website, but it’s important to understand the fine-grain of the catchment and see where there are opportunities to improve the environment for the benefit of future generations. Something close to the heart of many local farmers.
We have been busy this summer undertaking Phase 2 of a large floodplain restoration project that has transformed an area of low diversity floodplain meadow into a large wetland complex. The area was designed specifically to enhance biodiversity and it incorporates a new backwater to increase resilience in the local fish population. This was a partnership project, undertaken with Freshwater Habitats Trust and Waddesdon Estate. Thanks also to the local Environment Agency (EA) officers and EA Biodiversity team in particular for their support throughout the project.
You can watch a summary video of the project here