Fourth-generation farmer Ben Butler is passionate about doing his bit for the environment while running a successful business. Our MOREhedges scheme has helped on both fronts.

At Manor Farm in Avebury, Wiltshire, Ben manages a mix of arable crops, livestock and grassland. The new hedging, planted in late 2021, will increase shelter, improve corridors for wildlife across the farm and enhance the landscape too. He’s delighted with the results.

Nature-friendly farming

Balancing a working farm with conservation is “hugely important” to Ben. His nature-friendly farming practices, including connecting habitats on-site and with neighbouring farms, have already increased flora and fauna – especially farmland birds.

“Should we be producing food or giving up farmland to wildlife? That’s a good and topical question,” he says. “I actually think you can do both and I think we have been doing it successfully.

“Certainly we’ve successfully – and the data shows it – been producing food and farming on a good scale, but there is a place for wildlife too. Wildlife is a benefit to what we do. The public want to see it, and it’s good for the environment and the image of the industry.

“There has been no detraction by planting up hedges here. And planting around the edges of fields – I’m only seeing the benefits.”

“We planted the maximum 250m of hedges that MOREhedges allows, with 50 common oak trees and a prescribed mix of blackthorn, crab apple, dogwood, dog rose, field maple and hazel.

Watch Ben explain MOREhedges’ benefits for his business and the environment

Applying for MOREhedges

We’re working in partnership with Lloyds Bank to support farmers to transition to a low carbon future, and Ben was first made aware of the MOREHedges scheme by his Lloyds Bank relationship manager.
The partnership enables us to provide partial funding for planting half a hectare or more of new woodland, or more than 100 metres of new hedging, helping farmers to transition to a low carbon future.

Ben is full of praise for the process, from the initial chat to planting.

“The Trust is very well respected, and I was happy with the stock I was getting,” he said. “It was important to me that it was UK-based. I was confident and comfortable about the longevity and traceability and what was going to be planted.

“It had all been properly spiralled, caned and tree sheltered. The guy planting was experienced and I couldn’t fault any of the materials, plants or the process. It was great. I wouldn’t have a second thought about going back to the Trust.”

The future

Ben says he knows he may not see the full benefits of the scheme, but wants to leave a legacy and would love his three young children to reap the rewards.

“Farming in the next 5-10 years will be challenging with government policy and many different things going on in the industry. It will be an interesting time but hopefully I’ll continue to run a good business and create a future for my children here, and maybe one – or more of them – might want to take over.”

Create new hedgerows with MOREhedges

Our MOREhedges scheme offers advice, trees for your project, and potential for financial support.

Apply now