A farm has been named a designated local wildlife site becoming one of the laregest in Buckinghamshire.

A site visit to Manor Farm found a host of "rare" plants and species earning it the recognition given to the most valuable wildlife areas in the UK.

Chilterns-based, Andrew Stubbings has been turning Manor Farm into a stronghold for nature for more than 20 years.

A tenant of the National Trust on the Bradenham Estate, Andrew first began working with his father on the process of reverting a good deal of their arable land back to chalk grassland.

The farm, which has 250 hectares of land, has become one of the biggest sites for species-rich grassland, a habitat that has suffered a 97% loss in the last century. 

In the summer of 2020, the Chilterns Conservation Board and Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre found 280 species of plants, four different species of orchids and a large population of the increasingly uncommon Chiltern Gentian.

Wildlife included breeding barn owls, common lizards, and breeding corn buntings, a locally scarce and endangered farmland bird.

There were 35 species of butterfly recorded at Manor Farm and great green bush cricket was also found on the farm.

Andrew Stubbings said: “I’m so proud to think that I started this with my Dad 20 years ago.


"Before the surveys I didn’t really know what I had living on the farm and have been blown away by the results.

"It's so great to know that I am doing my bit to help our wildlife to thrive and has given me an extra buzz as I am out and about on the tractor.

"To top it all this spring breeding barn owls have taken to a new box installed on the farm - just magical!”

It is more common for specific fields or smaller areas on farms to gain designation so the scale of this award is "unprecedented".

Nick Marriner, landowner engagement officer at the Chilterns Conservation Board said: “Andrew is leading the charge in supporting Nature's Recovery in the Chilterns and has shown that commercial farming and wildlife can work together.

"He is an inspiration and it's great that we have been able to help him along the way and hopefully inspire other farmers to follow his lead.”

Julia Carey from the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre added: “We couldn’t believe the scale of what Andrew has achieved.

"Field after field of our surveys throwing up so many important rare arable flora and chalk grassland species.

"Manor Farm is a powerful example of how species and habitat conservation can be built into a working landscape, and a great example of how diverse land uses can support rare, threatened and unusual species.

"Our panel were extremely impressed by the wildlife recorded on the farm.”