Despite the atrocious wet summer weather for the past two years, Mark Tufnell’s Calmsden Estate near Cirencester in Gloucestershire has witnessed a dramatic 40 % increase in the number of rare grey partridges on the farm and in recognition of this considerable achievement Mr Tufnell was awarded a prestigious Grey Partridge Trophy for conservation.
The magnificent silver grey partridge trophy generously sponsored by Ruffer was presented by Mrs Jane Tufnell representing Ruffer LLP during the winter meeting of the Cotswolds Grey Partridge Group, which is organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and held at Cirencester Agricultural College.
The group, which was set up three years ago to boost grey partridge recovery in the region, attracts support from farmers and landowners located as far a field as Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. To be eligible to win the grey partridge trophy, members of the group submit counts of grey partridges to the Trust in the spring of 2008 and this annual award is then presented to the estate or farm that has achieved most to conserve this iconic farmland bird.
The wild grey partridge is one of our fastest declining farmland bird species. This once common bird has disappeared from large tracts of the countryside and its population has dropped from over a million pairs in the 1950s to just 75,000 in 2000. In an effort to reverse this decline the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as lead partner for the grey partridge Biodiversity Action Plan, has set up regional groups across the country and runs a national grey partridge count scheme, which records the rise and fall of grey partridges.
Peter Thompson, Farmland Biodiversity Advisor with the Trust said, “The estate has been concentrating its conservation efforts on wild grey partridges for a number of years and the latest count figures show how incredibly successful Mark Tufnell and his team have been in boosting the partridge population.
“In a year when many people were struggling to produce broods because of the appallingly wet summer, the estate has managed to substantially increase its population of partridges by creating year-round habitat for partridges such as nesting habitat, insect-rich areas for chicks and over-winter cover. Mark is a long-standing champion of grey partridges and has chaired the Cotswold Partridge Group for the past three years. I am delighted that the Cotswold trophy sponsored by Ruffer has been awarded to such a worthy winner.”
For further information on the Cotswold Grey Partridge Group or to join the Trust’s Partridge Count Scheme, please contact Neville Kingdon on 01425651066
Photocaption: Pictured at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s winter Grey Partridge Group meeting: Jane Tufnell from Ruffer LLP presenting the grey partridge trophy to Mark Tufnell of the Calmsden Estate, Gloucestershire.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats and we lobby for agricultural and conservation policies based on science. We employ 14 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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Morag Walker, Head of Media