Anna Clayton invites you to listen to the latest issue of THRIVEpod: North Lancashire’s place-based food podcast.

In the March episode of THRIVEpod, podcast host Caroline Robertson meets Bill Grayson, a ‘conservation grazier’, and Martin Wain from Butterfly Conservation to explore the role farming can play in supporting thriving landscapes – for people, butterflies, and other wildlife.

The following offers a flavour of the topics covered:

Caroline: “Let’s go back to basics. Bill… I called you a conservation grazier. What is that?”

Bill: “It’s a form of livestock production, that retains a very strong focus on nature conservation. So the grazing that we undertake has some other objective besides the production, which is centred around nature conservation. Most of the land we graze is a nature reserve [and] our landlords are all interested in those objectives. [For example the] RSPB. The Wildlife Trusts, Natural England…who need their reserves grazed in a very specific way… We have a suite of nature reserves, with lots of different landlords, and we move the cattle around these different pieces of land to [support] wildlife”.

Caroline: Martin. I mean, you deal with one of the most loved animals and creatures – the butterfly!

Martin: Yeah. So we’ve had somebody in place in the Morecambe Bay Area from Butterfly Conservation for a long time because we recognise that it’s a real hot spot for some of the UK’s rarest and most threatened butterfly species. So my job really is to do work on that and monitor and survey [butterflies]. We try to establish habits by working with farmers like Bill, and volunteers… And we like using butterflies, as we recognise that butterflies are really good indicators of the health of a habitat… So we’re often following all these cattle around and admiring the work that they do because they produce a really good varied sort of habitat that a lot of insects, particularly butterflies, and moths will thrive in.”

Listen to this episode of THRIVEpod in full here:

THRIVEpod is North Lancashire’s first podcast dedicated to discussing all about the local food system. From the cost of living scandal to regenerative enterprises and the re-wiggling of rivers, this pilot podcast series explores a range of topics relevant to our region, with, and for, local residents.

As this is a pilot series, Caroline and the rest of the THRIVEpod team are keen to hear your feedback about each and every episode. They also welcome your ideas for guests or topics for future shows.

Share your feedback and ideas for future episodes here:

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