A wildlife calendar created by local farmers has raised money for butterfly conservation efforts at Martin Down National Nature Reserve in the Cranborne Chase AONB.
The Martin Down Farmer Cluster, whose calendar is full of photographs of local farmland wildlife and landscapes, has raised proceeds of £656 to buy grazing equipment to help the reserve maintain diverse flower-rich swards.
Farmer Derek Woodvine came up with the idea to produce the calendars. He said: “One day, it suddenly occurred to me that we have all these wonderful images of wildlife we’ve captured in the area so why not make the most of them and make a calendar.’ They are sold in four village shops across the area, and have been popular with locals and visitors.
The Martin Down Farmer Cluster was formed in the Cranborne Chase AONB area of Dorset and Hampshire in 2016 and is one of three Farmer Cluster conservation projects surrounding Martin Down National Nature Reserve. Farmers have united in their aim to protect and enhance the iconic and threatened wildlife of Martin Down as well as the arable land and grassland surrounding it. Their priority list includes several butterflies such as small blues, dark-green fritillaries and Duke of Burgundy, and it is hoped that these species plus a plethora of others will benefit from the improved grazing.
Jess Brooks, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust biodiversity advisor who facilitates the Martin Down Farmer Cluster, coordinates the conservation activity and wildlife monitoring efforts. She said ‘The farmers are proud to have contributed to Martin Down’s butterfly conservation work, and this follows our previous calendar proceeds donation which restored a turtle dove pond on the reserve. These small yet powerful acts of charity demonstrate the farmers’ enthusiasm for protecting nature.’
Follow the farmers and their neighbours on Twitter @MDSuperCluster