FARMERS IN Devon have been praised for their work to promote wildlife on their farms.

As part of Devon Wildlife Trust‘s “Confidence in the Countryside” training project for farmers, participants of the last two years have been awarded the prestigious Devon Wildlife Trust approval for the enhancements they have made on their farms.

As more and more farmers look to diversify, there are more opportunities for conservation organisations to work with them to help promote the wildlife value of their farm.

With this project DWT has been helping farmers in mid and west Devon to use their farm‘s natural assets to benefit their business and the wildlife that lives on the farm.

The training course was funded by DEFRA‘s Vocational Training Scheme and Devon Waste Management.

Three farms have been awarded the top “Gold” rating and will receive certificates to display on their farms and promotional material to help market their business‘s achievements for the Devon countryside.

Simon Berry, DWT‘s “Confidence in the Countryside” officer said: “All the approved farms have really worked hard to enhance the Devon environment and in many cases improve public access to it as well.

“We are really pleased to endorse the farms which, with our help, have completed outstanding wildlife enhancements.”

“Working with farmers is vital to DWT if we are to make Devon richer in wildlife.

“This Approval Scheme was felt to be an ideal way to give something back to the farmers for all they have done over the past few years such as creating wildlife trails, ponds, restoring Culm grassland and clearing scrub from old meadows,” Mr Berry said.

The three “Gold” certified farms are Beer Mill farm near Holsworthy owned by Mr and Mrs Green, Fishleigh Estate near Hatherleigh managed by Peter Walters and Ashridge Farm near Crediton owned by Mr and Mrs Burston.

Mr Green of Beer Mill farm said: “The ‘Confidence in the Countryside‘ course has been an informative, enabling and enjoyable experience, helping us to understand what we have on our doorstep, what we can do to both protect it and improve upon it and how we can use it to support our business and the community.”

Other farms received silver and bronze awards. There were fifteen farms awarded the silver award and six farms awarded the bronze award.