Increasing sustainability with new information, training and support.

Members will benefit from signposting to funding opportunities, including targeted farming incentives offered by Southern Water. Members may also be eligible for a grant of up to £10,000 per year to fund farm infrastructure projects and buy equipment to reduce water pollution.

Meeting with other cluster members once a quarter, members will be able to attend farm walks, events and meetings to discuss improvements to farming practices which will increase efficiency and sustainability.

You will also be able to contribute to agronomy and technology trials within your catchment area. This will give you an opportunity to shape agri-environmental policy, both at local and regional level.

The Upper Beult Farmer Cluster takes part in both local and regional projects. Visit our projects page for more information.

Image of farmers from the farmer cluster stood near a pond looking at the grassy area on the bank.

Help and support is available to members preparing for Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS). Specialist advice for farm compliance and best practice is available through a network of specialists facilitated by Kent Wildlife Trust.

About the Cluster

Farmer cluster members stood in field talking and looking at crops.

The Upper Beult Farmer Cluster is facilitated by Kent Wildlife Trust, working in partnership with Southern Water. The aim of the project is to bring farmers together, in a farmer-led initiative, to collectively deliver greater benefits for soil, water and wildlife at a landscape scale.

The River Beult is a main tributary of the River Medway. Southern Water extract water from the Medway to supply drinking water. To meet stringent drinking water quality standards, pesticides and other pollutants need to be reduced and removed.

Southern Water is working with Kent Wildlife Trust and the Upper Beult Farmer Cluster to encourage sustainable pesticide use to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the River Medway.

Kent Wildlife Trust facilitates the farmer cluster and supports projects to improve soil health and biodiversity.
The Trust works closely with local communities, landowners and partners to protect and improve habitats in the countryside for the benefit of the wildlife and people of Kent.

The Trust is working towards restoring nature for a wilder future and provides additional support for the cluster by providing a Farmer Cluster Officer to build strong relationships with farmers and partners within the catchment.

Meet Ellen Wilson

Farmer Cluster Officer

With a background in the veterinary industry and as an Agronomy Trials Technician at NIAB, Ellen now supports members with conservation projects and surveys.

She is instrumental in facilitating meetings and events for the cluster.

Part of the Kent Wildlife Trust team, Ellen is always on hand to answer questions and for signposting.

Image of Ellen Wilson, Upper Beult Farmer Cluster Officer
Image of Robin Kelly,Southern Water’s Catchment Officer for East Sussex and Kent

Meet Robin Kelly

Senior Catchment Management Officer

Robin is Southern Water’s Catchment Officer for East Sussex and Kent. 

Working with farmers, land managers and other stakeholders, he addresses water quality issues at their source. With this initiative, Southern Water is aiming to reduce its reliance on expensive and energy-intensive water treatment.

Before starting at Southern Water, Robin worked at Natural England. He delivered agri-environment schemes and the Catchment Sensitive Farming project. Robin brings his knowledge of farming and rural funding to the Beult, designing schemes to incentivise sustainable farming and encourage best practice.

“We joined the cluster because farming sustainably is really important to us and we wanted to find out more and share ideas. The cluster has been great for getting to know other farmers, especially as we are relatively new to farming in this area of Kent. We’ve also learnt a lot about species found on other nearby farms and we are now monitoring species on our farm much more closely. The support and guidance of Kent Wildlife Trust has been invaluable.”

Amy and Graham Husk

Ramstile Farm, near High Halden.