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Farmland

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Photo: Andrew Smith

The largest single use of land around Cookham is for agriculture and related purposes. It is criss-crossed by footpaths and hedgerows, offering important habitats for wildlife as well as a valuable amenity for humans.  Several of Cookham’s footpaths and hedgerows are old – or very old – as evidenced by archaeological studies.

 

Across the country as a whole, a significant percentage of hedges has been removed to support more intensive agricultural use of the land, with a consequent massive impact on the ability of many species to survive.  Many species have now been lost to our countryside either entirely or as native breeding species.   Farmland birds are amongst the worst impacted with a reduction of nearly 50% in the past 50 years some species by as much as 90%.

WildCookham is looking to build partnerships with farmers and other major landowners, finding ways in which they can meet their focus on delivering the food we all need whilst also supporting wildlife projects.

 

We also carry out surveys of our hedges and footpaths to determine their condition and identify actions to improve their value as wildlife habitats.  Wildlife surveys also focus on key ‘indicator’ species that tell us about the health of the land.  For instance, Yellowhammers have been holding on to some traditional breeding areas and we are fortunate some of them are still in our vicinity. But how many? Local people can help for telling us when they see any of these birds or recording their sightings on iRecord.  You can find ID tips, and an example of the song and call of different birds, on the British Trust for Ornithology website here.

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