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Blaze of purple in Cornwall shows G7 greener future for UK farming - National Trust

A nature friendly Phacelia crop at Godrevy Farm in north Cornwall, across the bay from this week's G7. Credit Steve Haywood
A nature friendly Phacelia crop at Godrevy Farm in north Cornwall, across the bay from this week's G7. Credit Steve Haywood

World leaders will be greeted by a blaze of purple as they descend on the G7 summit this week – thanks to a National Trust farm that has embraced new practices.

Changes in land management at Godrevy Farm, on the north west Cornish coast, are resulting in benefits to nature with the introduction of the super pollinating Phacelia into its arable and green crops, which, as well as attracting wildlife, breaks down and acts as fertile manure for follow on crops.

Visible from Carbis Bay – where leaders meet this week (11-13 June) – the farm is a perfect example of how nature and farming can work hand-in-hand to help halt species decline, improve levels of biodiversity and tackle climate change.

It is also a great example of how farming can be sustainable, productive and profitable for farmers.

Three years ago the conservation charity worked with the tenants, to make changes which aligned more with the Trust’s ambitious plans to help restore nature and reverse the decline in wildlife on the land in its care, and to ensure that the land was farmed in a way that was more sympathetic to its coastal setting and the surrounding Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

Changes included planting wild seed margins to bring more wildlife back to the heart of the farm, and to provide wildlife rich corridors linking to the surrounding coastal habitats; restoring flower rich meadows, planting trees and making changes to the management of the Cornish hedges that bisect the farm.

The striking purple Phacelia crop sown across 51 acres of the 175 acre farm will be seen by visitors to the area over the coming weeks.

Phacelia improves soil condition by helping to increase stores of soil carbon and creating better soil structure, and is a rich food source particularly for invertebrates such as butterflies and bees.

Posted on: 10 June 2021

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