Rother Valley Farmers Group (RVFG): Short Summary April 2019
There are currently six farm clusters across the South Downs National Park (SDNP). One of these is hosted by the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) and called the Rother Valley Farmers Group (RVFG). TheRVFG currently has 37 memberscovering more than 8500 hectares located along an important local river known as the Western Rother. These farmers and landowners aspire to work together to deliver landscape, habitat and biodiversity benefits over a range that couldn’t be achieved alone. The six different farm clusters within the Park are shown on the map below.
The group started in January 2018 and what is becoming clear is that many farmers have a wealth of knowledge about their local environment which they are keen to share, and which is key to delivering future environmental benefits, such as healthy rivers, clean drinking water and species rich habitats.
The key areas of work for the RVFG are landscape connectivity (enhancing habitat biodiversity and species richness), soil and water management, rivers and community. We also asked our RVFG members to identify key species that benefit from a sustainable farmed environment that we can champion. These comprise three iconic bird species; Lapwing, Yellow Hammer, Barn Owl; a group of important river invertebrates that are vital to a river’s ecological status (assessed via a trained and certified volunteer system known as the River Fly Partnership initiative), and the adoption of three arable plant species once thought of as common but now often recorded as rare, comprising Corn Marigold, Cornflower and Fumitory.
The overall aim of the RVFG is to support farmer-led projects, training and plans to deliver environmental benefits through an economically profitable and sustainable farmed landscape.
Author: Ses Wright, 24/4/19