Lethytep – Meadows, Lakes & Woodlands

We have been so privileged this year having been introduced to Philip and Faith Hambly of Lethytep. This extraordinary piece of environmental heaven is the creation of the Hambly’s, yet they take very little credit for their hard work and passion for doing whats right for our wildlife.

Early May………………Mid July

On the day we met, Philip and Faith invited us for a stroll and chat about Lethytep. We wanted to learn about it’s creation and take away the best practices when working with freshwater habitat and meadows. We realised later when we hopped back in to the car, we had been there a whole 7 hours! and have been back many times since!

It became clear that Philip and Faith are not trying to be unique and keep the magic to themselves like many visitor destinations but the absolute opposite and spread the word in getting as many landowners to do the same. The key areas being in their meadows, lakes and woodland and it’s management for wildlife.

Philip also points out that we need our farmers to think differently and are key in achieving great things for our environment. The beauty, nutritional and environmental value to his meadows are how agriculture once was and how it needs to be once again.

It made me realise that if agriculture doesn’t respond to the issues our biodiversity faces, it all relies upon good people like Philip & Faith, all our own gardens put together and a few field margins and road verges thrown in for good measure! After all, as unfortunate as it is – the countryside in today’s world…..belongs to agriculture not nature.

We realise that our food system has created field after field of orderly monoculture’s and it’s not working for our nature depleted Country. What seems to be necessary now is our younger generations of farmers to be environmentalists. Is this likely? Can we bring back quality rather than quantity with our ever increasing demand. We do hope so!

The green hay of Philips meadow’s is key to helping other areas of land achieve native wildflower fields. The meadows at Lethytep have had time to breath having been kept away from intensive farming for many years and old, even ancient management techniques used to bring it back. After all, much of the land that has been intensively farmed with too much nitrogen and herbicide, the original seed bank could have long depleted.

However there is some good news Philip tells us. With careful management of grazing and cutting at the right time along with the aid of Yellow rattle which is a hemi-parasite on grasses, a monoculture can be broken up.

We’ve also recently attended a course to help us understand a little more about arable fields, the important & rarer native plants and management with the Back from the Brink campaign. Some of those seeds laying deeper in the soil are fairly robust and very long lived whilst dormant. Decades and sometimes 100’s of years, no one really knows. This takes the landowner to recognise that they might just have something really special and….free! if they are willing to give nature a chance.

We beleive in Philip & Faith getting this message to everyone they can, their ambition and drive has achieved great things for wildlife habitat and we for one can’t thank them enough. There is not many days that go by that we don’t mention Lethytep or Philip’s wonderful green hay! We want to spread seed all over our environment, not slurry and pesticides! 

Visiting Lethytep is a must for anyone that has even the smallest bit of land they wish to transform to not only being beautiful but valuable to wildlife. Go and be inspired! Eat Cake (Faith’s amazing cakes!) and see our countryside as it should be.

About the author: Angie Cruse

As well as working hard on the ground here in the UK, Angie has spent ample time volunteering in conservation abroad and continually studies habitat management in conservation.

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