Hope Valley farmers say working together has 'paid dividends' to get their voices heard

Hope Valley farmers say working together has “paid dividends” as they act to improve soil health across their farms and make their voices heard on farming policy.

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 2:02 pm

The Hope Valley Farmers group was formed more than four years ago, since then the group says it has gone “from strength to strength” in terms of numbers and influence.

Now with 45 members and covering an area over 3000 square hectares, farmers in the group are seeking to work together to improve the farmed environment across the Hope Valley.

Over the last year, members of the group planted 6500 trees on ten farms, laid over a kilometre of hedges, created almost a kilometre of new hedge and restored over a mile of stone wall.

Hope Valley Farmers attended aerator demo at Hope Showground

As part of the soil health project funded by Severn Trent, farmers have been improving their soil by liming, aerating and over-seeding with a range of legume species including red clover and birdsfoot trefoil.

On August 16, members also attended an ‘aerator demonstration event’ at Hope Showground, which showcased four different aerator machines and the positive impact they can have on soil structure.

As well as running a range of events for group members, the facilitator Chloe Palmer, organises an ‘away day’ for the farmers where they visit farms elsewhere to see innovative examples of conservation land management and sustainable farming practice

This year, the group visited Croasdale House Farm near Slaidburn in Lancashire where they saw how native Belted Galloway cattle could be used to manage moorland and how the creation of new wetlands benefit wader species such as curlew and lapwing leading to an increase in local populations.

Hope Valley Farmers host farm visit with Farming Minister Victoria Prentis at Edale.

Hope Valley farmers have also built a relationship with High Peak MP Robert Largan who arranged a visit from Farming Minister Victoria Prentis. The Hope Valley Farmers group hosted the visit at a member’s farm in Edale.

A spokesperson said: “Group members aired their concerns regarding future funding for upland farming and the challenges facing small family farms in the Peak District as the Basic Payment Scheme is withdrawn over the next seven years.”

Continued funds are now being applied for, to extend the group’s life for another three years.

The group hopes it will allow the farmers to carry out wader surveys, complete farm carbon audits, habitat creation and management work.

Hope Valley Farmers undertake visits to see examples of conservation land management.