GWCT and Natural England Farmer Cluster Conference

Royal Geographical Society
Event information
Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR
Date: 12 October 2017 Time: 10:00AM to 3:45PM
Organiser: Lynn Field Telephone: 01425 651025
Price: £45.00

Farmer CLuster COnf

Your chance to hear first-hand accounts of running a Farmer Cluster and the opportunities it provides.

In a very short space of time, the concept of farmers working together at a landscape scale to deliver biodiversity, alleviate flooding and improve their local environment has really taken off. The concept now known as the Farmer Cluster was devised in response to Sir John Lawton’s 2011 report ‘Making Space for Nature’ which called for conservation to be bigger, better and more joined up.

Defra, through the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund is now encouraging farmers, foresters and other land managers to work together to improve their local natural environment at a landscape scale. It builds on the principles of partnership working to deliver environmental benefits, as demonstrated by various initiatives, including farm clusters and the farmer-led Nature Improvement Areas.

To date it has helped fund some 61 groups throughout England. Other landscape scale farmland conservation projects are now in existence too including more informal Farmer Clusters that have chosen to self-fund their work.

Farmer Clusters Conf

In response to this fast pace of development, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and Natural England have organised the first national Farmer Cluster conference to be held at the Royal Geographical Society London on 12th October 2017 (view programme here). At this conference; farmers, facilitators, advisors, policy makers and anyone concerned for wildlife conservation can get together, compare experiences and catch up on the latest thinking on working together in a Farmer Cluster.

We are delighted to announce that HRH The Prince of Wales has kindly agreed to provide a video message in support of the conference and Sir John Lawton will deliver the keynote address.

Other speakers will include staff from Natural England, the GWCT, farmers and advisers all of whom will share their experiences on the day. The event is kindly sponsored by the Ernest Cook Trust and Natural England.

We are in for a fascinating day, we do hope to see you there..

GWCT  Natural England  Ernest Cook Trust

  • Tickets £45 (including lunch and refreshments)
  • Limited availability

Draft Programme (subject to change)

1000 Arrival and coffee

Morning Chairman: Andrew Sells, Natural England Chairman

1030 Chairman’s Welcome 

1040 Video presentation from HRH The Prince of Wales

1050 Keynote address: Making Even More Space for Nature - Sir John Lawton

1110 Setting the scene/history of Farmer Clusters - Teresa Dent CBE, CEO GWCT

1130 A Farmer's experience of a Farmer Cluster - Rob Shepherd, Hampshire Farmer

1145 The Sandland's facilitation-funded project  - Andrew Paul, Suffolk farmer & facilitator

1200 A Facilitator's experience: Setting up the Wensum facilitation-funded project - Heidi Smith (FWAG)

1215 A Facilitator's experience: The Duchy of Lancaster's wild pollinator initiative - Jennie Stafford (GWCT)

1230 Discussion and Q&A - Andrew Sells

1245 LUNCH

Afternoon Chairman: Professor Nick Sotherton, GWCT Director of Research

1400 Upper Nidderdale Facilitation Fund -Tara Challoner, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

1415 Worcestershire Meadow Guardians - Rob Havard, Natural England

1430 Farmer Clusters: Trendy gimmick or a sustainable solution? - Peter Thompson, GWCT

1445 Looking to the future: Implications for environmental delivery post-Brexit - James Phillips, Natural England

1500 Discussion and Q&A - Nick Sotherton

1525 Summing up – Andrew Sells

1530 Close


The venue is located in Kensington at the junction of Exhibition Road and Kensington Gore. Click here for directions.


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