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Conservation

Conservation and Education at the heart of OBG’s mission

OBG~ A Nature-Friendly Farm

Over 70% of the UK’s land is farmed in some way – so how this land is managed has a big impact on the plants and animals that live there. Here at OBG we recognize the importance of using sustainable environmental land management techniques such as “conservation grazing”.

Our traditional, rare breeds- a small flock of Hampshire Down sheep and 4 Sussex Red cattle- along with our herd of 23 Huyaca alpacas allow us to sensitively graze across the farm. Grazing is the most natural form of management for certain habitats. Livestock can access areas that machinery can’t, and the impacts of grazing are slower than other methods, such as mowing, which means that less-mobile wildlife can thrive.

OBG~ Rewilding

Grassland (that hasn’t been reseeded, fertilised or drained) bursts into life with flowers and insects during the Spring and Summer, which in turn provides a food source for other important wildlife including birds, bats etc. In England there are around 4.5 million hectares of grassland, of which just 100,000ha are unimproved. Rough grassland also provides the perfect habitat for small mammals such as voles, mice and shrews to nest and move around, which in turn provide a readily available food supply for our resident Barn owls.

Connecting Chichester Harbour and the South Downs National Park

Our modest 24 acres of farmland supports a healthy network of mature, species-rich hedgerows, another habitat under pressure in the face of development and more intensive farming methods. Hedgerows provide not only essential shelter and nesting sites for wildlife, but they also capture carbon, help clean our air, reduce flooding and help us understand historic land management. The farm is an important wildlife corridor in the link between the South Downs National Park ( SDNP) and Chichester Harbour a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Whilst originally planted as boundary markers, mature hedgerows not only teem with life, but on a wider landscape scale they provide connectivity and contribute massively to halting biodiversity decline, particularly in the presence of climate change.

We are currently undertaking survey work for the Hazel dormouse, an endangered species which uses hedgerows for nesting, feeding and moving around the landscape. John is also busy building bat boxes to install across the farm to provide suitable roosting sites for several of the nine species of bat we have recorded both foraging and using the hedgerows and river as commuting corridors.

Helping to conserve our native Black poplar tree

There are only 38 mature Black poplar trees left in Sussex and only around 10,000 trees left in the UK. The limited genetic diversity of the remaining trees means that they are vulnerable to new diseases, and soon Black poplars could become extinct in the UK.

With the River Ems running through the farm, we recognise the potential of our riverine habitat to help support this ecologically and culturally important tree. In December 2023, in conjunction with the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust (hosts for the Sussex Black Poplar Working Group), we planted 15 young Black Poplar trees at the northern end of the Rewilding Meadow. After a wet winter the saplings are doing well and we look forward to monitoring their growth over the coming years.

The River Ems – our chalk stream.

The farm is blessed with the passage of the River Ems along not just one but three  courses  across our land . As a rare chalk stream fed by springs bubbling out of the  vast chalk beds lying under the South Downs National Park we have a crystal clear water river that hosts so many special animals and plants – brown trout ,  eel , water vole,  kingfisher, water crowfoot, etc , etc .

But water is needed by people as well as nature and all the water we drink in this part of the UK comes directly out of the chalk aquifers. With more and more people needing water in the south east these reserves of water become  severely reduced at certain times of the year and this causes our beautiful chalk streams to begin to dry up . Recently the River Ems has been dried out for more than 2/3rds of its length by the time we get to September and October . On the farm we are very concerned about what is happening to the river as a result of unsustainable water abstraction by the water companies and permitted by government.

Monitoring the health of our rivers is now  a role  that citizens scientists are taking on more and more as government agencies are not watching the environment as much as they used to. Sampling the life in our rivers  including on the farm enables us to understand the health of our rivers and hold those accountable who have responsibility for the environment we live in.  

Ann Brazier
Ann Brazier
15 February 2024
A great visit for a meet and greet session at Our Back Garden today. My granddaughter absolutely loved it. The staff were friendly and helpful, making it such a pleasurable visit. We definitely intend to return for alpaca walking later in the year
Susannah Greenwood
Susannah Greenwood
12 December 2023
Beautiful place to visit, lots of events a sweet shop and now you can get refreshments. Worth a visit.
Coral Harmon
Coral Harmon
3 December 2023
Had an amazing visit today, meeting and feeding the alpacas. The hosts were really friendly and informative and obviously really care about their animals and their business. The alpacas were lovely, the hot drinks great and the produce made from the alpaca wool was wonderful; I look forward to wearing my hat and socks and I'm sure our grandson will love his cuddly alpaca. Would definitely recommend a visit and would love to come back.
Mark Ralls
Mark Ralls
5 November 2023
Fantastic day out .
Mark Darlington
Mark Darlington
14 October 2023
Hosted our daughter's birthday party here. It was such a lovely experience for the children, and the owners were amazing!
Hefin Griffiths
Hefin Griffiths
1 October 2023
Visited with Veterans Outreach Support. Brilliant crew, brilliant morning 👍👍
Lou T
Lou T
30 September 2023
We had a fantastic couple of hours with the alpacas today. Such a great place, with a lovely family feel. Laura was brilliant and taught us everything we needed to know. I’m in love with Flora and wanted to take her home. Thank you so much.
Paul Monks
Paul Monks
20 September 2023
My wife loved this place we got so close to the Alpacas, the meet and greet is brilliant, you get to feed and pet then a great experience.
Ben Carville
Ben Carville
19 September 2023
Absolutely brilliant. The hut is so cute and the setting is beautiful. Laura and Perry are also incredibly helpful.