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Title of the project

Rotherfield Demonstration project


The project demonstrates how to recover grey partridges for conservation and shooting purposes in an area where they have gone locally extinct in the 1990’s and to show which benefits this has for biodiversity in general. The project also demonstrates how to manage a wild bird shoot for partridges (grey partridge and red-legged partridge), pheasants, woodcock and brown hare. The demonstration project was initiated with a four-year re-introduction experiment in 2004 alongside habitat management and moderate predator control. The current demonstration project was started in 2010 with the employment of a professional wild bird gamekeeper and the implementation of high-quality habitat management tailored to grey partridges supported by a Higher Level Agri-environmental Scheme. In 2014 the re-introduction of partridges has been stopped and the population is now entirety wild. In order to provide guaranteed shooting during the recovery years of wild gamebirds, 600 cock pheasants are being released from mobile pens annually to supplement the wild stock (no other gamebirds are released in the project area). Shooting is focused on cock pheasants only, brown hare and roe deer, with woodcock and pest species supplementing the bags (such as corvids, jay, wood pigeon). Partridges shooting has started in 2016 at a sustainable level, based on autumn stock numbers.


please see webpages provided further below


Country United Kingdom
Level Local
Site Rotherfield farms
Specific site coordinates 51˚04’15.58’’N, 0˚59’54.71’’W
Municipalities involved Colemore
Region Hampshire

Starting date


Habitat Types

Farmland, Forest/Woodland, Scrub/Grassland

Protection status of the areas

No protection status, private land


Species Caracteristics Huntable species, Protected species, Threatened species, Abundant species, Migratory species
Species Type Birds, Mammals (other than large carnivores), Generalist predators
Name(s) of main species Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix), Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Tree pipit (Anthus trivialis), Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Conservation action(s)

Management of habitats and wildlife (e.g. conservation and restoration activities), Research and data collection (e.g. monitoring, bag data), Communication and education (for different target audiences e.g. hunters, the wider public), Policy work (e.g. positioning of hunting organisations, demonstrating conservation actions), Enforcement (e.g. improved implementation of hunting legislation, codes of conduct)


Leading partners The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rotherfield farms
Other partners Natural England, South Downs National Park authority

Estimation of the budget (total or annual)

approx. 120'000£ per year, staff salaries, housing for gamekeeper and agri-environmental scheme contributions included.

Estimation of Human Resources needed

Gamekeeper (full-time), Scientist (50% staff time), Farm staff (considerable)


The Rotherfield Demonstration Project, Francis Buner, Annual Review 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Fordingbridgehttps://www.researchgate.net/project/The-Rotherfield-Demonstration-Project