The Climate Emergency
We all have a big task ahead of us not only to stop the species extinctions and positively restore nature, as we have been trying to do since the 1980s, but also to reduce the emissions that cause global warming.
The Estate has converted most of its farm cottages away from fossil fuels to Air Source Heat Pumps, with solar panels on the roofs to power the heat pumps and other electricity uses in these homes.
Everyone knows that trees can lock up carbon, and we continue to plant trees (see our Flora page).
But it is much less widely understood that the soil itself can act as a carbon sink. We are learning about how to manage our soils to release less carbon and to store more. Livestock have a vital role because, if their grazing patterns are managed in certain ways, this can encourage the pasture plants to put down much deeper roots, which leads to more carbon being held deeper in the soil, with other benefits too such as the deepening of topsoil, growth of the soil's microflora and microfauna, improved drainage and water retention.
Our two downland farms, Lychpole and Upton, have been rearing livestock in traditional sustainable patchwork patterns, in such a way as to restore worm counts and soil carbon content, for many years. We're now looking at a regenerative farming plan for our Church Farm south of the A27.
We farm as part of a system and the businesses can only keep looking after the land by selling produce at a profit to a market. We would like to develop more diverse food crops and sell them locally in Adur and Worthing, so as to reduce the carbon footprint of food miles on the way to your meal table.
We are very mindful also that people get into their cars and drive miles for exercise, and that many are short of opportunities to experience and enjoy walks in nature. We are planning and providing permissive footpaths within our Church Farm which for many will mean they can have a lovely walk without needing to use a car to get to it. Every bit helps.
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