I’ve worked at Holt Farms for 9 years now and I live on one of the farms on top of the Mendips. It means I’ve got great surroundings including woods just outside of my garden, I love walking my dog through them and looking at the wildlife with my daughter, Lucy. She’s 6 and it’s great to be able to teach her about the nature that she’s surrounded by and she can tell me the things she learns about wildlife at school!
I enjoy most aspects of my job but I think I prefer it in the winter, although I’m not too keen on the early mornings when it’s a cold day! I find it more varied as the summer can end up being constant grass cutting around all of the sites which means working with a mower every day, there’s also a lot of strimming on the farms. Now that we’re coming into the winter, there’s more bramble reduction to be done and then hedgelaying and trees to plant, we plant a lot of trees through the winter season so they’re in place and ready to grow in spring. Something that surprised me about working at Holt Farms is the huge scale of work happening in the winter, I was expecting the summer to be the busy time but the reality is that we’re busy all year round!
We are currently working on a new wildlife project with the aim of increasing the number of habitats we have around our farms. We’ve always had birdboxes throughout our sites but it’s great that we’ve got the chance to increase the number now; I’d love to encourage more songbirds into these. We’re also planting things that are good for food and shelter, such as Hawthorn, Dog rose and Blackthorn. We had a nesting pair of Barn Owls this year in one of our current boxes which is really exciting, unfortunately only 1 owlet survived from the 2 clutches hatched, maybe due to the wet autumn making it difficult to hunt. We’re going to refurbish the box, now that they’ve fully fledged and the nest is empty, ready for the pair to hopefully return in the spring.
It’s not only birds that we’re laying on habitats for, we’re adding in bee, bug, mouse and hedgehog boxes too, and when we’re clearing brambles, we’re leaving a few patches behind as they’re great habitats for nesting birds and small mammals but if left unchecked it can take over. The rules for organic farming means that land needs to be set aside for wildlife to flourish, and I’m so pleased that the wildlife project is taking centre stage.
Working here really highlights why it’s important to work in an environmentally friendly way, I certainly didn’t take as much notice of my surroundings before. Conservation is so important for the next generation to be able enjoy all the things that we do now, I don’t want my daughter to miss out!