PLANS to save a unique nature reserve in Herefordshire are moving forward with Herefordshire Nature Trust taking over Birches Farm.
Located between Kington and Eardisley, the farm has been maintained using only traditional methods for more than 100 years.
As a result its 60 acres have become a special natural resource, preserving habitats to the many species and wildlife that find homes in its grasslands.
With help from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the trust has secured its short-term future and is now raising the £1.5million needed to fully restore the farm’s historic farm buildings and meadows.
And the hay meadows are not the only valuable resource that gives conservationists an insight into times gone by.
Alfred Price, the previous owner, was a diligent note-taker and his farm diaries uncover detailed information about how the land was farmed as far back as the World War One.
“They tell the complete story of a traditional Herefordshire farmstead,” said Jim Light the trust’s reserves officer for the farm.
“They explain what was done to the buildings, the farmland, the grass meadows.
“He was born of that age – and he wanted to carry on doing things the way he had learned.”
The meadows themselves are rare, with 97 per cent of the soil classed as PH neutral.
This, in part, has allowed orchids and other plant life to flourish.
Mr Light said: “An average area of grassland might have seven or eight species in it, these meadows have up to 22.”
There has already been a lot of local interest, and while the farm will not be open to the public initially, there are currently plans in place to lead guided walks through the area.
For more information visit www.herefordshirewt.org/reserves/birches_farm and to donate to the project visit https://www.justgiving.com/BirchesFarm .