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This page summarises our current projects. Members are putting into practice the Cluster's vision and objectives by jointly implementing a range of activities. These projects demonstrate the power of farmers and landowners working together and also underscore the wealth of expertise available in the Cluster's many project partners.

All of our work today is laying the foundations for our flagship Landscape Recovery Project - a comprehensive 20-year vision for farmer-driven restoration of our North East Cotswold landscape that marries productive agriculture with nature-centred action. 

For more information about these projects get in touch with


Habitat Creation in Lyneham (2021-2024)

The Cluster is facilitating five farms to jointly deliver the following along the stream at Lyneham Heath:

  • improved habitat for farmland birds, pollinators, aquatic life and other wildlife

  • improved water quality from farmland diffuse pollution

  • natural flood management and a more natural hydrological regime reinstated

  • multiple sources of funding applied to demonstrate blended finance

These farms are showcasing this project to help build confidence in similar schemes with key stakeholders across the Cluster region. With funding contributed by Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL), in the heart of the Cluster’s area, this project is a demonstration of farmer collaboration for landscape habitat restoration. The key habitat features created by the 5 farms are: - Fish passage enabled in 2 x Lyneham Heath water jumps - 3 x wood debris dams - 3 x contoured reedbeds to intercept sediment and nutrient from arable runoff (375m) - 2 x Spring fed pond and wetland features (0.6ha) - Arable reversion to seasonally flooded meadow and flood storage capacity (1.4ha) - Bank re-grading to reconnect stream with floodplain (80m) - Arable Reversion to wildflower meadow (18ha) - Orchard wildflower underplanting (4ha) - Enhance floristic value of meadows (6.1ha) - Pollen & nectar rich margin (0.1ha) - Ecological abandonment & connectivity to the Norrells, an ancient woodland (5.7ha) This is a bottom up, landscape-approach to habitat conservation, and through knowledge exchange we aim to encourage more neighbours and contemporaries to participate. Other Cluster and catchment initiatives layered on this site will be capturing natural capital with more targeted measurement: Carbon with the FiPL funded Soil Carbon baselining project; water quality and flooding with the ECP; and biodiversity with various projects - e.g. Glorious Grasslands and our supplementary bird feeding initiative.

Habitat Creation in Lyneham

Supplementary Bird Feeding (2022-2025)

This 3-year Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) funded project has significantly scaled up our area’s winter supplementary feeding of farmland birds. 30+ farms now help these farmland birds that have been in such trouble recently.

This 2022/2023 winter season we produced and distributed 37 tonnes of bird feed all supplied from farms within the Cluster. The added-value of the Cluster enables economies of scale and the birdfeed is much cheaper than buying commercially. 

We have teamed up with ecologists of WildCRU and Oxford’s department of Zoology to undertake some new

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research to optimise our efforts. Our farmland bird surveys are producing very encouraging results. We have surveyed farmland bird populations, in feeding sites and non-feeding control sites. On a feeding site in Lyneham, receiving 20kg of birdseed per day, a survey counted 130 yellow hammers, 460 linnets, 100 chaffinch, 13 reed buntings, 25 goldfinch and 1 brambling in 30 minutes. This provides an invaluable baseline to help Lyneham continue hosting birds and supply the right habitat for them in future.

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Windrush Floodplain Meadows Restoration (2022-2024)

This is a collaborative project between the Cluster, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, Glorious Cotswold Grasslands and the Windrush Catchment Partnership: Tapping into these expert networks we are compiling data across farms to inform floodplain meadow habitat restoration.


Existing data on species rich floodplain grassland in the Windrush floodplain and its tributaries is being collated and mapped in early 2023 before a botanical survey will be taken in the summer to fill in data gaps.

The project will then produce recommendations and work with landowners to restore the floodplain meadows at five flagship sites. Using all the learning from these five sites, we will produce a strategy for comprehensive floodplain meadow management and restoration throughout the Windrush floodplain.  

Soil Carbon Baselining (Completed - Dec 2022)

In 2022 we completed our huge soil data collection project with Rothamsted Research involving 39 farms, with 50% of funding by Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL).

Data about soil carbon content helps towards making decisions about farmland and what can be done and where: Where to improve soil structure? What restoration measures may be needed? Ultimately testing soil carbon helps identify opportunities for soil carbon capture and storage.

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This baseline data now enables farms to - develop a regenerative farming plan to optimise productivity and carbon sequestration  - predict soil carbon sequestration rates from regenerative practices - monetise/realise the carbon (and co-benefits to flooding, water quality and biodiversity). Farmers can participate in an ISO accredited Greenhouse Gas emissions scheme to trade or in-set future additional carbon emissions reduction, or capture and storage. Multiple Cotswold businesses are in discussion to purchase (or inset) the carbon from Cluster farms.


Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) Project (2022-2023)

This project brings together the Cluster with Oxbury Bank, a dedicated agricultural bank for farmers and food producers and is funded by the NEIRF grants scheme (administered by the Environment Agency on behalf of DEFRA).


We are developing a new approach for farmers to invest individually and collaboratively in natural capital projects and to retain the full value of resultant eco system payments. NEIRF funding enables Oxbury Bank to design the necessary lending, payments and investment financial products that Cluster farmers can use to invest in the natural environment without delay. 

Supplementary Bird Feeding
Windrush Floodplain Meadows
Soil Carbon Baselining
Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) Project

This project will achieve: Landscape scale natural environment restoration and management - building on the existing pilot projects both completed or underway. These include, - Natural flood management and water quality with Thames Water - Biodiversity net gain with the Environment Agency - Carbon baselining with Carbon Quester and Rothamsted Research There are ready-made pilot projects that exist across the country that can be applied in our context as soon as the appropriate financial products are designed and applied by participating farms. At least 100 projects are expected to be taken up by the end of 2023, with learning being shared within and outside the Cluster on how farmer-led decisions on investing in the natural environment can be facilitated by simple financial products controlled by farmers. These products will be available nationwide by project end.

Landscape Recovery Project (2025-2045)

The Landscape Recovery Project is an ambitious 20-year environmental project driven by this pioneering generation of farmers and landowners in the North East Cotswolds. This is long-term, large-scale land-use change for habitat creation and ecological recovery that is intertwined with the farming system.


The Cluster’s aim is to restore the functions of three key rivers, their floodplains and wider catchments; Evenlode, Glyme and Dorn. Farming practices will shift to enable farms to remain productive and farm businesses to be profitable while bringing multiple benefits. We will create a landscape that builds nature-based resilience for climate, flooding, biodiversity and water quality. 


With an anticipated budget of £1500/ha/year and involving over 50 farms (more than 20,000 hectares) working together, this project encapsulates the Cluster’s vision and takes our people, our learning and resources to scale. We will design, create and restore over 3000 hectares of interconnected habitat floodplain, lakes, ponds and wetland habitats as well as woodland habitat restoration, planting and natural regeneration. This project will benefit not only farmers but also communities in the wider landscape, investors and buyers, and also government and regulators.

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There has been national coverage of this project winning government support: BBC Radio 4 Farming Today (January 2023) and DEFRA Farming Blog (December 2022)

With UK government DEFRA (ELMS) seed funding over 2023-24 we are building the project foundations; pooling expertise, developing targeted farm plans, managing data, identifying new markets and engaging investors and partners ready to launch this milestone project in early 2025.

The changes we expect to deliver across over 3000 hectares in the next two decades include:

  1. Restored river channels which are reconnected to their floodplains, which will reduce downstream flooding of settlements, landslips and pollution

  2. Enhanced floodplain meadows and other habitats reedbeds, wetlands and wet fen that help retain soil nutrients and will naturally filter and remove pollutants

  3. Improved populations of water voles, kingfishers, curlew, brown trout, eels and other ‘relatable’ species. More keystone plant species such as water crow’s foot

  4. Create habitats to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere with more trees, woods and scrub, and with hedgerows and agroforestry that stabilise soils and reduce runoff, with planting that links high value habitats

  5. This natural capital in the Northeast Cotswolds is unlocked and utilised by farm businesses of all sizes

  6. Greater public engagement with nature and farmland that generates more support of a local and direct food supply chain

Landscape Recovery Project
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