show menu

Introducing our ecology expert

As part of increasing our knowledge of different wildlife species and numbers across the Barnston Estate, we are working with ecologist Richard Roe.

Over the coming months and years the data he collects will help inform how we have improved our environmental stewardship from our initial baseline assessment.

Our aim is to always maintain a viable farming operation in tandem with nature and Richard’s work will help to provide the evidence as to how we are doing, how we can improve and potentially explore this symbiosis of maximising food production and boosting wildlife.

Our ecology work is important to us. Some of our initiatives include peatland and pond restoration, the planting of new hedges and an ambitious project to create a new 20-acre woodland along the banks of the River Dee in Farndon in early 2024, which will have benefits for wildlife.

Richard Roe, a Chartered Environmentalist and founder of Kingdom Ecology, has expertise working with a range of protected species including great crested newts, badgers, water voles, otters, barn owls and bats.

Richard said: “It’s going to be very interesting to review the Estate from an ecological point of view and to find out more about the range of plants, animals and bird life that live in the area.

“I’ll be carrying out lots of targeted surveys and installing trail cameras to see what wildlife we can capture images of during the night. I’ll also be exploring the estate’s pond and aquatic life.

“Being an ecologist is a fascinating and varied job, particularly when it comes to fieldwork. I love being outside and coming across all sorts of wildlife at different times of the year.

“The latter months of the year are great for spotting wintering geese and wildfowl. In the springtime, it’s the perfect time to survey breeding birds and also a chance to check out woodland vegetation and amphibian life. Summertime is perfect for bat survey and wildflower meadow work.

“I once caught a polecat on a night-vision camera confidently strolling around an old Cheshire barn. They’re nocturnal so they’re hard to spot. Another time I came across some lesser horseshoe bats in the Wrexham area. There are only 50,000 of them in the British population and they turned up in an area I wasn’t expecting to see them.

“When you’re out in the middle of a field in the dark you can spot some lovely creatures. An inquisitive otter ambled over to me once and sniffed my foot while I was doing a bat survey.

“Another time, I left a grumpy badger slightly shocked after he bumped into me by mistake. I don’t think he was expecting to come across an ecologist holding a camera in the middle of a field at night!”

Measuring and reporting our biodiversity and ensuring that the habitat for wildlife is in a better state than it was before any development work, is an important part of our Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) strategy.

We are also working hard to achieve accreditation for Wildlife Farms and Estates Level 2. WFE accreditation is the label of excellence in championing the enhancement of wildlife and biodiversity.

As landowners in Farndon and Churton for many centuries, we have a long-term vision to take care of the land for future generations.

Published: 03.10.2023