Oli Foulds

How long have you worked for Trust?

Almost 3 years – I started working as a trainee and I have stayed with the Trust ever since.

How long been an Advisor? Does this role from part of another position at the Trust?

I have been a JFP Wildlife Advisor since first visiting the farm in March 2016. My other roles with the Trust include surveying and writing reports for Local Wildlife Sites, leading volunteer teams on a meadow restoration project, giving walks and talks on species ID and mapping Derbyshire’s species records.

Can you explain your role as Farm Advisor?

My role is to assist one of the Jordans Farm Partnership farmers with the wildlife management plan for his farm. There are 40 farms in the partnership and I am the advisor for Shirley Hall Farm in Derbyshire. It’s my job to make sure the wildlife management advice for this farm is effective in protecting and enhancing the most important wildlife habitats on the farm while fitting with the local character of the land. This involves finding the best places to create new habitats like pollen and nectar plots and identifying which existing habitats can be improved through changes in farm management.

Can you describe Shirley Hall Farm and how the farm is being managed to help wildlife?

This farm is a 154 hectare, mixed arable and livestock farm in South Derbyshire. Sited on the old ridge and furrow of a medieval estate, Shirley Hall Farm grows oats and wheat and rears both sheep and beef. The oats grown on the farm are supplied to Jordans for their cereals and cereal bars. Crop fields and grassy pastures are separated by miles of thick, bushy hedgerows dotted with huge old veteran trees – wonderful habitat for insects and farmland birds. Uncut field corners and margins along with areas seeded with wildlife friendly plants provide further habitat. Carefully managing this mixture of habitats supports a diversity of species on a productive farm so we
can be sure that the land is providing both for us and for our precious wildlife.

Do you have family/pets?

My mum and dad work at the family music shop in Derby. I also have an older brother who lives nearby.

What’s your favourite species/wildlife passion?

I always struggle with “what’s your favourite…” questions because I can never pick one thing! What got me interested in wildlife in the first place was the variety of it. TV programmes, wildlife photography and books showed me a colourful and fascinating world of creatures each with its own amazing behaviours and unique characteristics. I’m pretty sure the complexity of the natural world will keep me interested and entertained for the rest of my life.

Why do you feel managing farms for wildlife is important?

If you stick a pin in the map of the UK it will probably land in a farm – this is why I think managing farms for wildlife is vital to wildlife conservation in this country. So much of our land cover is farmland and fairly small changes to farm management can make such big differences to our wildlife. Imagine a wildflower meadow on every farm in the country – that’s a lot of happy pollinators!

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