The Return of the Grey Partridge tells the extraordinary story of how wildlife is restored to the Arundel Estate in West Sussex. Prompted by the collapse in numbers of one species, the grey partridge of the title, the managers of the estate wake up to the devastating effect modern farming methods were having on wildlife. Following the estate through the seasons of one year, the book shows how the farm of Peppering is gradually renatured: fields are divided up with hedgerows and trees, beetle banks are built across fields, the land is manured rather than fed with artificial fertilisers, and much of it is returned to pasture.
Detailed descriptions of nature give a sense of this large estate coming back to life – still very much farmland, but with a rapid increase in wildlife and biodiversity. And the partridges return. Written in collaboration with the Duke of Norfolk, owner of the Arundel Estate, this moving and hopeful account shows how modern farming can work in partnership with nature to restore not only birdlife but to benefit the whole ecosystem.
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