Lucy Carnaghan has been recruited as a Restocking Coordinator to take forward some of the recommendations of the Restocking of the High Weald report.
The Report, which was commissioned as a response to a 31% decline in cattle and 24% decline in sheep in the area between 2000 and 2010, sets out the causes of de-stocking and steps that could be taken locally to address the decline.
There are some 1550 holdings in the High Weald AONB, an area that covers both Sussex and Kent and a small part of Surrey. Graziers struggle to find land that is accessible, affordable, well fenced and with an adequate water supply whilst some landowners have difficulties in finding reliable tenants who, as well as grazing the land, can improve it.
The project aims to show that there are opportunities for enterprising livestock farmers to run viable businesses without having to overcome the huge barrier of land ownership. It is hoped that building relationships between graziers who are looking for grass and landowners and farmers who are not necessarily farming the land, providing advice on land tenure and tax, and giving specific training and mentoring support, that the stock numbers will in time start to increase.
Sussex based Lucy comes from an agricultural background and her experience of hands on farming, a degree in Agriculture from the RAU and five years spent at Batcheller Monkhouse have infused her passion for this project in her home county.
Lucy says "I have been helping Tom, my partner, build up his farming business over the past 8 years and have first-hand experience of the challenges that are faced by farmers looking for more grazing. I am looking forward to connecting start‐up farmers with the pasture of non‐farming landowners and retirees.”
Jason Lavender, High Weald AONB Director says “Generations of Weald farmers and their livestock have created a breath-taking landscape of national importance - we should celebrate them and their efforts. Looking ahead, it’s clear that farmers and a buoyant and vibrant grass-based livestock system are still vital for the future conservation of this much-loved landscape.”
Restocking the Weald: Feasibility study & proposal for implementation
Restocking the Weald: Securing the future of livestock farming in the High Weald's working landscape