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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

HS2 to be reviewed to examine costs and benefits

The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with a “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.  It will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England should proceed. The review will be chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a civil engineer and former chair of HS2 Ltd. A final report will be sent to the government in the autumn.

National Food Strategy consultation opens

Defra is seeking responses to its consultation on the first National Food Strategy for 75 years. The purpose of the review is to address the environmental and health problems caused by our food system, to ensure the security of our food supply, and to maximise the benefits of the coming revolution in agricultural technology.  For full information on the consultation and to forward your response please visit this page.  The consultation closes on 25 October.

RBST Farm Parks Project Officer vacancy

RBST has been awarded a major grant from the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund to support its Approved Farm Parks Project. This project aims to transform the existing group of Approved Farm Parks into a comprehensive network delivering coordinated conservation programmes, the promotion of native breed products and knowledge transfer.  The Project Officer will lead on the delivery of the project, calling upon the wider resources of RBST, including technical and practical advice on breeding programmes and communications and backroom functions as necessary.  You need to be a bright, enthusiastic and self-motivated individual, with a good knowledge of farm livestock breeding and genetics, conservation and the countryside, educated to degree level in agriculture biological sciences or equivalent, with an ability to work with people at all levels.   The full job description is available on the RBST website.    Closing date for applications is 2 September.

Exhibit at Warwickshire Food and Drink showcase on 24 September

Warwickshire Food & Drink Showcase

Tuesday 24th September 2019, 11.30am-12.30pm 

Warwick Racecourse

Warwickshire County Council is inviting local food & drink producers and suppliers to exhibit at this unique showcase event which will offer a trade hour during the morning where businesses can network and do trade deals.  The event will then open up to the public for general sales in the afternoon during the races.   Spaces cost £50 and include promotion in the race day programme.

Buyers of Food and Drink from the County and beyond are invited to attend for free and are able stay on and watch the races during the afternoon.

To Register as an Exhibitor or Attendee go to

Kenilworth Agricultural Society seeks p-t Secretary and p-t Livestock Crops Co-ordinator

Kenilworth and District Agricultural Society is looking for a highly organised, multitasker with strong prioritising skills, interpersonal skills and a high level of IT skills to act as their part-time Society and Show Secretary.  The position is available for an immediate start and is based at home.  This role is based on an annualised hours contract of approximately 800 hours per annum with the hours varying throughout the year in order to meet the business needs, the busiest periods being February, March, April and May leading up to the Show in June.   A full job description and contact details are available here.

The Society is also seeking to appoint a part-time Livestock and Crops Co-ordinator.  The post will provide administrative support for the Livestock and Crops competitions which take place at the Kenilworth Show and is contracted for 100 annualised hours worked during April – July.  The post requires someone who is highly organised, a multitasker with strong prioritising skills, interpersonal skills and a good level of IT skills.  A full job description is available here.

Closing date for applications is 28 August.  Any enquiries should be directed to the Chair, Nicky Maynard, on 

Read the new edition of Lodders Life

Read up on the future of farming and the pressures being faced by rural businesses in the 6th edition of Lodders Life.  Lodders Solicitors are business supporters of the Warwickshire Rural Hub.

Read The Village Survival Guide

In 2018, over 500 community-led projects were recommended to The Prince’s Countryside Fund as a result of their Recharging Rural research.   So the Fund has decided to publish The Village Survival Guide. Based on the experience of rural residents from all across the UK, the book will help communities to tackle a multitude of issues and make sure that their community will thrive in the future.   Featuring advice from experts, as well as the stories of those who’ve made a real difference in their rural community, The Village Survival Guide will help you get your community up and running.  Download your copy here.

Ban on metaldehyde slug pellets overturned

The ban on metaldehyde slug pellets has been over turned after the High Court agreed with a challenge on the legality of the ban.  The pellets will now return to the market and can be used in accordance with their labels.


Experienced Stocksperson required at Mary Arden’s farm

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is recruiting a full-time experienced Stockperson to work at Mary Arden’s Farm in Wilmcote near Stratford upon Avon. The farm is organic and hosts range of traditional and rare breed livestock. Traditional methods of farming are used as much as possible with the aim of keeping the old skills alive in keeping with the Tudor period.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone experienced with a range of livestock, passionate about traditional farming, who enjoys interacting with people and wants to share their knowledge with visitors in an engaging and informative way. The post holder will hold a recognised agricultural qualification, act as a key holder, and be required to work over seven days including some bank holidays on a rota basis with colleagues. There will also be a requirement to attend livestock out of hours as required.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 4th September 2019, and interviews will take place on Wednesday 18th September 2019.
If you would like to know more and to apply please go to the Trust’s jobs website.

Do you farm in the Dunsmore area of Warwickshire?

Dunsmore Living Landscape is a partnership scheme led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The scheme is running until Dec 2020 and covers an area that takes in Coombe Abbey Park and Brinklow in the north, Lillington in the south, Frankton and Burton on Dunsmore in the east and Coventry and Stoneleigh in the west.  The Dunsmore Living Landscape team are working with farmers and landowners within the scheme area to restore hedgerows, woodlands, ponds and meadows. Because we are funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund we can fund up to 80% of the work that is undertaken.  We would really like to hear from anyone who wishes to improve the condition of their hedgerows or plant new ones. We’re also keen to hear from anyone who has woodland that is currently unmanaged.

If you are interested, you can check if you are in the scheme area on the map on our website. If your land borders the edge of the scheme area and you would like to work with us, please still get in touch.

To discuss any potential work, please contact Tom Watkins, Dunsmore Living Landscape Project & Training Officer, on or 02476 302912.

New Secretary at Defra

The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP has been appointed Secretary of State of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replacing Michael Gove.

Survey on how climate change impacts agri-environment schemes

The Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire has been tasked with seeking the views of farmers/land managers in England about how extreme weather events have impacted the effectiveness of agri-environment (AE) schemes.  The work, funded by Defra, is seeking to understand how current AE and future land management schemes can be more responsive to extreme weather and contribute to greater local resilience to climate change.  Upon completion, there is an opportunity to enter the prize draw or engage further with this project. If you want to know more about the project please visit the CCRI project page.  The survey takes 10 minutes to complete and can be access here.



Kenilworth Show seeks new site for 2020

Due to the construction of HS2 the one-day Kenilworth Show is having to re-locate from Car Park 1 of Stoneleigh Park and is seeking a new location for the 2020 show.

The new site needs to be a minimum of 80 acres of grassland and have good access for the 12,000 visitors. The Show is held on the first Saturday of June.

The Kenilworth Show has been running for 76 years and has been organised by the Kenilworth and District Agricultural Society since 1943. It is Coventry and Warwickshire’s largest one-day agricultural show. If you would like to find out more about hosting the Show in 2020 please contact the President, Nicky Maynard.

Read Ellacott’s Summer Agricultural Newsletter

Ellacotts accountants, one of our business supporters, has just published their summer agricultural newsletter.  In this edition you can read all about incorporation, when grain storage qualifies for tax relief, how to take full advantage of farmer’s averaging and 2018 harvest result.  Download your copy here.

Communication with RPA after 1 July

From 1 July 2019 the RPA will be taking further steps to route all communications through their new single point of contact:

Tel: 03000 200 301


Post: Rural Payments Agency (Countryside Stewardship), PO Box 324, Worksop, S95 1DF

This change means that if you contact the RPA through an existing route you will receive an answerphone message or an auto-response to an email.   After 31 July the old telephone numbers and email addresses will be deactivated and will no longer be available for use.

When contacting the RPA please include the following information in your communication:scheme/grant type, document type, year, SBI.

Hatton Farms Ltd wins Forsyth Lapwing Trophy for 2019

Thomas Maynard, Director of Hatton Farms Ltd, was announced as the winner of the Forsyth Lapwing Trophy for 2019 at a Syngenta farmer’s meeting on 1 July.  The trophy, sponsored by Syngenta, is awarded for excellence in environmental farming and conservation on a commercial Warwickshire farm.

As well as retaining and managing such features for wildlife as woodlands, ponds and hedges Thomas has also taken an archaeological feature out of cultivation.   Winter bird seed plots, beetle banks and pollen and nectar mixes have been introduced to the farm and Tom uses grass leys to help control black grass and on arable headlands to improve arable gross margins, field operation efficiency and improve soil structure.

Hatton Farms hosts regular visits from schools and bird surveys.

Thomas Maynard was presented with the Forsyth Lapwing Trophy to retain for one year plus a Syngenta seed mixes voucher by south Warwickshire farmer Anthony Forsyth.  The runner up for 2019 was Jonathan Hince, Farm Manager at HJ and CF Beecham, Tidmington near Shipston on Stour.

The judges of the Forsyth Lapwing Trophy are Belinda Bailey, Sustainable Farming Manager with Syngenta and Hugh Darbishire, a Warwickshire farmer and former winner of the Trophy.

Photo: Left to Right – Jonathan Hince, Anthony Forsyth, Thomas Maynard



Improve your Daily Lifetime Yield with AHDB Dairy

Do you want to improve Daily Lifetime Yield? The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board has identified the top genetic traits that affect DLY from 800,000 Holstein cows and their sires. All the information required to shape breeding goals can be found here.

Defra issues 3 new general licences to control pest bird species

Three new general licences for killing certain birds have been issued by Defra, extending the number of species that can be shot without having to apply for an individual licence.  These new licences extend the number of birds and range of circumstances under which lethal control is permitted without the need for an individual licences.

The new licences will allow users to control certain species of wild birds in order to:

  • conserve other wild birds, flora or fauna
  • preserve public health or public safety
  • prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables and fruit (GL36)

The bird species covered  by GL36 are carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, woodpigeon, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.

Information for farmers affected by HS2

Guides for farmers and growers on HS2 proposed approach to handling agricultural property matters have been published. They provide a single source of information for all those affected by the new route. There will eventually be a bespoke guide for each affected farmer.

The guides comprise 3 parts:

  • part 1 contains general policies and guidance on key issues, including land acquisition, land access, construction, land restoration and compensation.
  • in part 2, further explanatory notes on land acquisition and temporary occupation are included.
  • in part 3 is an example of the content that will be tailored to an individual farmer. The principles set out in the guide will be adhered to during the detailed design and construction of the railway.

You can access the information here.

Churchill Fellowships for Rural Living

The Churchill Fellowships are seeking applications to their Rural Living category that explore multidisciplinary approaches for strengthening rural communities, for example to invigorate transport networks, reimagine housing, employment and enterprise, or improve access to education, culture and healthcare.  This category is in partnership with The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

A Churchill Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand your horizons and make a difference. It offers up to two months overseas, researching a topic of your choice – and then a lifetime relationship to help you spread the global insights that you bring back.  Everyone can apply, regardless of age, background or qualifications, so long as you are a UK citizen aged 18 or over.  The Fellowships particularly welcome applicants who would not find funding elsewhere.  The closing date for applications is 17 September 2019.  You can find out full information on how to apply on this page.

Irrigation prospects “Moderate” in West Midlands

The Environment Agency has revised its irrigation prospects following a dry April and the West Midlands is now defined as Moderate, which means that water levels are low, some controls on surface water abstraction are possible by midsummer if the weather is hot and dry and controls on abstraction from groundwater are possible in small, sensitive groundwater areas.

Weather conditions for the forthcoming growing season are difficult to predict but the Met Office says that hot and dry weather is (marginally) more likely than not this summer.  Farmers are urged to consider how they could be affected by running out of water and to make plans, where possible, to manage water shortages.

Key dates for BPS, CS and ES

The Rural Payments Agency has put together a timeline of the important dates for 2019 to be aware of for Basic Payments Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship.   The dates and further information are available on the RPA website.  Alternatively you can download the calendar here.

Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2020

Defra Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has confirmed that slug pellets containing Metaldehyde will be banned from spring 2020. It will be legal to sell Metaldehyde products for outdoor use for the next six months, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months. (Posted 19.12.18)

Download the Guide to Cross Compliance in England 2019

The new guide to Cross Compliance rules in England for 2019 can be downloaded here.

There are no confirmed policy changes to the rules for 2019.  However, please be aware that for SMR 1 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) land that was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017, transitional arrangements have been in place to not meet some of the NVZ rules. These arrangements come to an end in July 2019, when the requirement to meet all the NVZ rules starts on 31 July 2019. For more information read SMR 1: Nitrate Vulnerable Zones on page 39 of the guide.

New opportunity for farmers – Arden Farm Wildlife Network

Are you a farmer in the Arden area of Warwickshire interested in:
• Getting support to help you with managing the options in your environmental schemes.
• Keeping up to date with the changes in environmental support and different channels of funding available.
• Improving your farm for wildlife with low cost methods – that can benefit your business too.
• Finding more about what wildlife you have got on your farm?

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network could help you!

If you would like further details then please give Zoe Bell a call or drop her an email.

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address:
Website: Open Website

New scheme to encourage investment in superfast broadband

A new scheme for small to medium sized businesses is being piloted in the Warwickshire area to encourage commercial investment in superfast fibre broadband.
The Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Programme aims to support projects across the UK that will stimulate more commercial investment in full fibre, the “gold standard” of fast and reliable broadband. Coventry and Warwickshire is one of the test regions for the scheme. The programme will see local companies will be offered vouchers (worth between £500 and £3000 each) by broadband suppliers to pay for gigabit capable connections.
More information is available on the website below.

Website: Open Website

NFU Mutual launch new insurance for Smallholders

Smallholdings are an essential piece of the patchwork that makes up our great countryside and are vital to the wellbeing of the farming scene. As the leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual has launched a new insurance that insures smallholders managing small flocks or herds, right through to individuals and families who are keen to get involved in small scale farming. Visit the website to contact your local agent.

Website: Open Website

New Defra code of practice for species control

The “Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England” sets out how the provisions for species control agreements and orders contained in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 should be applied by environmental authorities. These powers ensure that, in appropriate circumstances, landowners take action on invasive non-native species or permit others to enter the land and carry out those operations, to prevent their establishment and spread.
For further information please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Get pelletwise

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has produce “A guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and slug control”.
To view the guide use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

The Department for Transport has proposed the crop cap be set at 4% in 2018, decreasing incrementally until it reaches 2% by 2032. The NFU is calling for the cap, which governs the volume of crop-based biofuels allowed to be used on UK roads, to be set at the maximum possible level of 7%. Many other EU member states have opted for 7% – as per set out in the EU directive, leaving UK arable farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

CSW Broadband are looking to work even more closely with parish councils. What they would like to know now is what would parish councils find most helpful to assist you in informing your residents about the broadband rollout and answering their questions?
Please drop an email to, and the team will develop a plan that incorporates as many of your suggestions as possible.

Marketing for plant based substances

The EU Court of Justice has confirmed a ban on products of a ‘purely plant-based substance’ using the term milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt in their marketing. There are some allowances, including coconut milk and ice cream, but the rule applies to all products not on the list of exceptions, such as soya and tofu.

New Red Tractor Stickers Launched

Red Tractor has teamed up with Massey Ferguson to print 15,000 trailer stickers to help farmers spread the positive message of UK Farm Assurance. The stickers bear the slogans “Great Food, Great Farming” and “Trust the Tractor”.
The stickers are free of charge to Red Tractor members.

Website: Open Website

Co-op commits to British farming

Announced last September, a promise to source fresh lamb and bacon from British only sources by the Co-op came into effect this week. This now means that the Co-op sources 100% British beef, chicken, ham, pork, duck and turkey and uses only British meat in all sausages and in its own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches (with the exception of continental varieties in ready meals and sandwiches). This bold move places farming right at the centre of their business and has been widely congratulated by the industry

A new platform for smart farming

The Horizon 2020 thematic network smart AKIS has recently launched a free online platform providing a number of tools to facilitate and promote the use of smart farming technologies.
The platform is intended for farmers, advisory services, agriculture consultants, and farming equipment providers. It includes a database of the latest technologies already available on the market or emerging from research projects. Additionally, it provides guidance, advice and a space for exchange on the use these new technologies.

Website: Open Website

Open Water – chose your water supplier

From 1 April 2017, farms and other eligible business customers in England will be able to choose their supplier of water and waste water retail services.
Businesses which are eligible to switch supplier can choose to shop around and switch to a new retail service provider for water and wastewater services; negotiate a new price and service package with their existing retailer, or a new retailer; or stay with their current retail service provider, accepting default price and service terms.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

Call for vigilance for Sweet Chestnut Blight

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are reminding woodland managers, tree professionals and the plant trade to be vigilant over the coming months for sweet chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica.  Suspected cases in trees and woodland should be reported to the Commission with Tree Alert. Suspected cases in chestnut plants moving in trade, such as in garden centres and nurseries, must be reported to APHA’s Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) on 01904 405138 or

Telephone: 01904 405138

New website about plant pests

A new website to improve access to information about plant pests and diseases has been launched by Defra.
The Plant Health Portal is already making it easier for plant health professionals to share and use vital information on plant pests and diseases, unlocking the power of data to better assess threats and determine action to tackle them.
The site is still under development, and has been launched in ‘beta’ form to enable users to give feedback to inform further improvements. There are plans to add more data and introduce further refinements to the site’s search functions during this second phase. Users are encouraged to send feedback on the site to Defra.

Website: Open Website

Would you Like to

Donate to the Hub?

A donation to the Hub of any amount is always gratefully received. However, it is only donations of over £100 that can be acknowledged on the Hub website as a Champion.  A donation can be given to the Hub by cheque, bank payment, standing order or by the Paypal Link Below.

Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm


Registration No: 7026157

Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA

Hub Chairman

Henry Lucas

Rural Hub Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291


Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Hub Chairman)
Graham Collier (Hub Deputy Chairman)
Karen Ellis
Paul Rice
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson
James Walton



Hub Steering Group Members

Luke Ryder, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Susan Schlee, S2M Marketing
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Bob Slater, Slater Farm Management Services
Jef Tuyn, Agricultural Consultant
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm


The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

© 2018 Warwickshire Rural Hub. All rights reserved.