'Motorway Farm' to become a wildlife haven

A farm which sits in the middle of a motorway has pledged to become a wildlife haven.

Thursday, 2nd November 2017, 4:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:12 pm
An aerial view of Stott Hall farm near Huddersfield in Yorkshire

Stott Hall near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, rose to fame in the 1960s when the M62 was built around it.

It was originally thought the farm would be knocked down to make way for the motorway, but the land was too steep to build all six lanes on.

Stott Hall has now joined Yorkshire Water's Beyond nature initiative which is encouraging farms in the region to "connect with the land, water and wildlife around them".

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Farmer Paul Thorp with his son John Thorp at Stott Hall farm

A peatland bog on the farm will be restored to lock carbon dioxide in the land to help reduce global warming.

The farm will also continue to look after 900 breeding ewes on nearby Moss Moor.

Despite being in the middle of a motorway, the farm is a haven for certain bird species and the habitat will be improved to boost the population of merlin, snipe and twite birds.

Paul Thorp, who manages the farm, said: "Undeniably, hill farming in the Pennines has its challenges, such as with soil quality and inclement weather as well as our motorway location.

Farmer Paul Thorp with his son John Thorp at Stott Hall farm

"However, we are confident that we can successfully combine a commercial livestock enterprise whilst also not only maintaining but improving this wonderful diverse habitat for future generations as part of the Beyond Nature vision."

There are plans to open a scientific and educational hub at the farm to enable students of agriculture to carry out environmental studies.

Lisa Harrowsmith, a lead surveyor at Yorkshire Water, said: "Despite the farm sitting in the middle of a motorway, it is a classic upland farm with biodiversity interest, cultural and landscape value.

"Paul and his family are really behind this new vision of how farming can evolve to embrace land diversification that enables things like wildlife, peatland and meadows to thrive whilst maintaining the farm as a successful commercial enterprise."