Our Nature Reserve

Tree Planting and Re-Wilding.

At Bradford Farm we are all about re-wilding. Recently, we have decided to plant trees not just on every patch of our land but through initiatives working with NGOs and charities worldwide. We are proud to be so committed and engaged to bringing nature back all over the world and reversing climate change. We now plant in 32 countries worldwide.
When we arrived on our farm in 2017, the fields were just boring grass – there was no significant wildlife to speak of. Since then we have introduced 23 bee hives, a natural lake, planted wild flower fields and are now dedicated to full time tree planting.

Letting Everything Natural Grow

Re-wilding is not just about trees. We are allowing the hedgerows to grow and only cutting back when absolutely necessary. This allows more berries to grow which attract more birds – it is sad that most farmers cut back their hedges just when the berries are ripening in late Summer and Autumn. Recent farming methods fundamentally starve birds that rely on such food sources.  Since introducing our natural ecological method, we have seen an increase in all wildlife activity.

Weeds are Important too.

Goldfinch feeding on Sunflower

Goldfinch feeding on Sunflower

In addition to the hedgerows, we have let the weeds grow too. Weeds are important for a number of reasons.

  • Weeds provide cover for all varieties of nature such as frogs, pheasants, insects, spiders to name just a few
  • Weeds provide a valuable food source for butterflies and encourages them to reproduce
  • Weeds are a larder for smaller birds – caterpillars and grubs in the summer and seeds in the winter

Since letting our weeds grow we often see a ‘charm’ a group of 50 or more goldfinch – birds that are rapidly declining in the UK.

Encourage Amphibians and Waterfowl

Frog in a Bog

Frog in a Bog

We are lucky to have a river running through the land. However, we thought we would do something for species that rely more on bogs and still water, so we dug a lake and a purpose built bog.
The temptation is to always put fish in straight away – but this was decided against so we could see what happens naturally over time.
Since excavating the lake just 18 months ago we have seen a massive increase in bird life, including ducks, geese, moorhens, herons, egrets, dippers and kingfishers to name a few. More importantly, because there are no fish in the water we have an abundance if insect larvae hatching encouraging 100s of swallows, swifts and house martins.
It has been amazing to see wild water flowers and reed-beds developing encouraging several different species of dragonfly which, in turn, encouraged hobbies visiting for the first time this year.
We also encouraged three boggy areas to excel naturally. Now we have 100s of frogs, toads, newts and millions of frog spawn. These also provide an invaluable food source for the ducks, herons and egrets. As the area is overgrown, it provides excellent hiding place for the frogs, tadpoles and newts.

Kestrel searching for mice

Kestrel searching for mice

Encouraging rodents
Since leaving the grassy areas to overgrow, we have seen a massive increase in field mice. Too often all sorts of insects and small mammals are killed by industrial farm machinery which leaves little food for birds of prey.
Grass is okay as long as it is NOT often cut. The reasons for this are as follows..

  • Long grass provides excellent cover for field mice
  • It is perfect habitat for grasshoppers
  • Provides hiding places for deer
  • Helps hedgehogs
  • In the winter, it folds over providing a perfect blanket for the small mammals that depend on it

All of these benefits encourage birds of prey including owls and kestrels that rely on the rodents as a food source.
Did you know that kestrels alone have declined by two thirds in just one year in Devon alone. This is down to over-industrialised farming. Let’s get them back before it it too late.

Please help as it all costs money!
Through gifting a tree to a friend you allow us to plant another tree on our property and expand the process. In return, we will send you a certificate with the trees exact location so you can view its growth in years to come.

We are lucky to have a river running through the land. However, we thought we would do something for species that rely more on bogs and still water, so we dug a lake and a purpose built bog.
The temptation is to always put fish in straight away – but this was decided against so we could see what happens naturally over time.
Since excavating the lake just 18 months ago we have seen a massive increase in bird life, including ducks, geese, moorhens, herons, egrets, dippers and kingfishers to name a few. More importantly, because there are no fish in the water we have an abundance if insect larvae hatching encouraging 100s of swallows, swifts and house martins.
It has been amazing to see wild water flowers and reed-beds developing encouraging several different species of dragonfly which, in turn, encouraged hobbies visiting for the first time this year.
We also encouraged three boggy areas to excel naturally. Now we have 100s of frogs, toads, newts and millions of frog spawn. These also provide an invaluable food source for the ducks, herons and egrets. As the area is overgrown, it provides excellent hiding place for the frogs, tadpoles and newts.

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