We found ‘lockdown love’ during the Covid crisis – and that’s good news for Herefordshire.

That’s the view of the Countryside Restoration Trust, who believe that a renewal of our love of nature will prove great for rural areas like ours.

Being cooped up made us long to escape the reality of the pandemic and the answer was renewed passion for our wildlife, plants and scenery.

“This has been a complex year for farmers with potentially unfavorable trade deals, impacts of Brexit, and shortages of seasonal workers due to the coronavirus pandemic,” say the CRT.

“However, lockdown has also been positive by igniting a passion and interest for the wildlife and British countryside amongst a greater part of the UK’s population.”

Across the UK, people ventured out of their houses, initially for only an hour a day, looking for escape.

The CRT was established in 1993 to buy intensively farmed land with declining wildlife number and restore it to a thriving countryside full of habitats enabling native flora and fauna to thrive.

Its aims have broadened to encompass buying farmland and woodland where traditional farming methods, wildlife habitat and biodiversity are under threat.

Protecting wildlife

The CRT advocates a working countryside using sensitive and sympathetic farming practices that encourage and protect wildlife and produce high-quality produce.

That is why the Trust ‘are proud to be sponsoring the Farm Conservation category for the Three Counties Farmer Awards.’

Trustee Tim Scott said: “We all have a responsibility to look after our environment.

“On Lark Rise Farm in Barton, I recognise the complex and interlinking systems of flora and fauna and amend my farming practices accordingly. This category is to acknowledge other farmers that are following the same mindset in the Three Counties area.”

The CRT are looking for nominees to demonstrate how they proactively utilise sensitive and sympathetic farming practices to encourage and protect the species and habitats on their farmland whilst also producing quality food alongside what way they communicate their conservation approaches to a local community.

Entries close on September 18. Categories are: Sheep Farmer Award; Farm Conservation; Cattle Farmer; Family Run Farm; Pig Farmer; Young Farmer (under 25); Poultry Farmer; Farming Hero; Arable Farmer; Farming Contractor; Fruit/Hop Farmer; Outstanding Achievement.

This year’s awards ceremony takes place in November in the form of a digital live broadcast and includes a star-studded array of stars either hosting or dropping in with special messages.