Piercebridge Farm in County Durham, run by tenant farmers Chris and Liz Hodgson, is a 122 hectare organic grassland farm situated on the estate of Lord Barnard.
The Hodgsons rear organic beef cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens on the farm and have a flock of 500 laying hens. Organic produce from their farm is also sold in their successful on-site farm.
Alot of the farmland has been reclaimed from gravel extractio, and a priorty has been to improve biodiversity by extensive planting and restoration of hedgerows.
The farm was originally entered into an Organic Entry Level Stewardship agreement in October 2005. On the application process, Chris commented:
"Findiing sufficient points to enter the scheme was easy as we automatically qualified for half of them because of our organic status. We also found the OELS handbooks to be detailed, informative and very easy to comprehend."
Chris and Liz have chosen a selection of ES opptions, such as low input grassland and management of hedges and stone walls, which complement their organic farming practice and help to protect the historic features on the farm. These options also help to support wildlife, and Chris has noticed:
"an increase in a huge variety of species, especially in our riverside meadows, including otters, bumblebees, yellowhammers, lapwings, grey partridge and orchids."