Visit an organic farm

Densholme Farm, East Yorkshire

Densholme Farm is a block of land being converted to organic farming in East Yorkshire. Groups can arrange a guided tour of the farm to find out more about the farm, its management and wildlife.

Organic farming

Beginning in 2002, one field each year is being converted from conventional to organic farming. It takes two years to ‘convert’ each field and this period helps cleanse the land of previous chemical applications and prepare for the organic crop rotation. Key to this is the planting of nitrogen-fixing clover to add fertility to the soil in the absence of artificial fertilisers. After two or three years, the clover (and livestock that graze it) will have built enough fertility for a crop of wheat to be grown. This will be followed by beans (a legume like clover), then triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) before clover is planted again to add more fertility. We will look at the radical change in management that is necessary to convert to organic production and discuss some of the implications.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme

The farm is managed under a Countryside Stewardship Scheme and various features are signposted. Around 13 ha (33 acres) are devoted to these environmental plans which aim to help reverse the decline of wildlife on farms. You will see new hedgerows, stewardship field headlands, wild bird seed mixtures and pollen & nectar plant mixtures to help encourage wildlife. Beetle banks are being created to provide habitats for a range of insects that help control pests, this is especially important in organic farming which is the second aspect we will look at on the walk.

Wildlife

Organic farming and the Countryside Stewardship Scheme are helping to preserve and encourage the wildlife on the farm. Bumble bees benefit from the pollen and nectar planting and farmland birds such as lapwing, skylark and yellowhammer are provided with suitable habitats. You may be lucky enough to see a reed bunting, a rare bird that as the name suggests, needs tall reeds like those alongside the dyke to thrive. Rare arable plants are found along the field margins, including shepherds needle which has become very scarce. As organic farming avoids the use of artificial chemicals, we hope that these insects, birds and plants will increase as the organic conversion proceeds.  

Arranging a visit   

Groups are welcome by prior appointment. Contact the farm manager, Paul Hanson, to arrange your visit - email pahanson@hotmail.com or telephone 01964 534398.  

How to get there   

Contact the farm for details.  

Contact details   

  • Denys Fell, Densholme Farm, Great Hatfield, Hull, East Yorkshire HU11 4UR   
  • T: 01964 535315   
  • denys_fell@wcg.org.uk       
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