Three Oxford Sandy and Black pigs have arrived on Bere Marsh Farm in Dorset and are now having a wonderful time snuffling around on an area called Nine Acres.


They arrived on 7 March and got straight to work following their natural instinct to rootle, turning over the soil to find minerals or food, like invertebrates and roots, or to make a wallow. This behaviour means they loosen the soil and create areas of bare ground, giving a wider range of plant species the chance to establish and helping to create a greater diversity of habitats.

A CRT volunteer has named the pigs after their breed. The pig with the most black markings has been named Black, the largest with very little black on is Sandy and the third pig is called Oxford.

The pigs, from a local breeder in Shillingstone, will be tended with the help of our Volunteer Pig Watch team. Katy Froud, Volunteer Manager, said: "The amazing volunteers on Bere Marsh Farm have stepped forward to look after the pigs at weekends and on days when CRT staff can’t. They have been so keen and enthusiastic to support this exciting project. We really can’t do it without our wonderful volunteers!"

The pigs will be on Nine Acres for around six months, then they will provide high-quality, free-range meat products for the farm to sell locally. They will rootle around on a third of Nine Acres, so a three-acre plot, to start with. 

Wild space

We are setting aside the area known as Nine Acres. This area won’t be grazed for five years, allowing grass to become tussocky and for scrub to establish naturally. The rootling of the pigs will help speed up this process.

This new habitat will provide vastly increased resources for invertebrates and small mammals. In turn, birds will benefit from having more to eat, from field voles for the farm’s barn owls to insects for migrating swallows and house martins.

This project is one of many the CRT is working on as part of our vision to transform Bere Marsh Farm into a small-scale mixed farm that prioritises the protection and recovery of native wildlife. This flagship CRT property will showcase how a working farm can deliver benefits for nature and the wider environment, while producing high-quality food and involving the local community in regenerating the countryside.

How can you help

We can’t do it without your help. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as Friend to volunteering on a farm. Or simply signing-up to our monthly newsletter CRT News for regular updates from across our farms and projects straight to your in-box.

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To read more about our conservation activities protecting wildlife across our farms please see our Wildlife Blog