Following a detailed assessment of its property portfolio, the Countryside Regeneration Trust’s Board of Trustees has made the difficult decision to serve a Landlord’s Break notice to Pierrepont Farm tenant, Mike Clear. Discussions are ongoing to ensure a smooth transition for both parties.

Nicholas Watts, Chairman of the Board of Trustees said:

“We’ve had an excellent working relationship with Mike, and we’d like to thank him for his dedication and hard work at Pierrepont Farm. We know that he’ll make a success of whatever farming ventures lie ahead.”

Pierrepont was gifted by the late Jo Baker in 2006 and the CRT remains committed to its long-term future as a dairy farm, in line with Jo’s wishes. However, the 200-acre farm at Frensham, Surrey, must also play an important role in the CRT’s ambitious plans to improve biodiversity across its whole farming portfolio.

With agriculture in a transitional period and moving closer than ever towards the CRT’s long-standing ethos of regenerative farming, the CRT believe the time is right for a new approach at Pierrepont.

Pierrepont Farm, Mike Clear said:

"We've enjoyed our time at Pierrepont Farm and are very proud of everything we have achieved. Naturally, it's with great sadness that our time at Pierrepont will be coming to an end after 17 years, but as a family of passionate dairy farmers we're looking forward to fresh challenges wherever they may be. We would like to thank the CRT for the opportunity they gave us". 

The CRT wants a robust blueprint for the farm’s future; one that strikes a balance between productive farming and boosting biodiversity. Pierrepont already features important wildlife habitat, including woodland, volunteer-planted hedgerows, and a wet meadow next to the River Wey that is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Considerable investment has been put into both the farm and the Creative Courtyard area, home to a variety of artisan businesses. This includes the building of a dairy unit that enabled Mike to install his state-of-the art equipment and run the Jersey herd in a modern and efficient way.

With the government’s stated targets to halt the decline in species populations by 2030, and then increase them by at least 10% by 2042, the CRT is critically aware that without a monumental effort on farmland of all types, these important goals are unachievable. Therefore, the CRT is focused on ensuring all its farms play a positive role in securing a better future for the countryside, and the country as a whole.

The Trust’s board must act in the Trust’s best interests, manage the Trust’s resources responsibly, act with reasonable care and skill, and ensure that the Trust is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit. Engaging with greater vigour in the battle to protect the natural world on all Trust land, while at the same time helping tackle climate change, does precisely this.