A Cumbrian farmer named Giles Mounsey-Heysham has been recognised for his outstanding efforts to promote good habitat and environmental management at his Castletown Estate Farms by the farming and conservation industry. Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) has awarded him the ‘Silver Lapwing Award’, which recognises farmers who go the extra mile to protect and enhance the countryside in which they farm.
Mr Mounsey-Heysham was awarded from a national shortlist of seven farms, each selected for demonstrating outstanding commitment to good environmental practices, alongside running successful farm businesses.
His 4,000 acre farm sits between the Esk and the Eden in the heart of the Solway Estuary and sells 1,200 finished beef cattle a year, as well as growing dairy forages. The challenge of economically grazing 2,500 acres of salt marsh, covered by the sea at high spring tides, to provide habitat for nesting waders and tens of thousands of wintering wildfowl, was described as a “monumental undertaking” for him and his team.
FWAG described Mr Mounsey-Heysham’s farm as an “internationally important wildlife jewel” that has been transformed from a “debt laden, loss making liability” to a profitable business. His conservation efforts also provide wildlife woodlands and meadows through the productive remainder of the farmland, with potential to push conservation even further in the future.
“With the challenges of grazing 2,500 acres of salt marsh, they have transformed the farm into a wildlife haven, as well as a remarkable business. Giles Mounsey- Heysham and his team work tirelessly, their drive is inspirational – a worthy winner,” said Charles Beaumont, Silver Lapwing Head Judge.