Island Conservation Farmer

Discipline: Agriculture, Farming
Job type: Permanent
Salary: ££23,000 + Accommodation, Utilities and Benefits
Contact name: Louise Palmer

Contact email: office@agriFJ.co.uk
Job ref: 14544LP
Published: about 1 month ago
Startdate: ASAP

​LUNDY ISLAND, DEVON

Job Description – Island Conservation Farmer

Job Title: Conservation Farmer – Lundy Island

Reporting to: The Island Manager

General Information: The Landmark Trust: Lundy is owned by the National Trust but leased to the Landmark Trust who is responsible for its administration. The Landmark Trust is an independent charitable Trust which specialises in the rescue and restoration of buildings and places of historic interest or architectural importance. Further information can be gained by visiting the Landmark Trust website at www.landmarktrust.org.uk.

The Island: Lundy is situated in the Bristol Channel some eleven miles off the North Devon coast. The Island is made of granite and rises steeply out of the sea to a height of some 450 feet. It is 3.5miles long and 0.5mile wide and is mainly rough pasture and maritime heathland together with clumps of cut rhododendron on the east side. There is no arable farming, but there is a flock of domestic ewes and small herd of Highland Cattle. There are feral sika deer, soay sheep, ponies and goats. Much of the island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the waters around Lundy are of international importance and have been designated the country’s first Statutory Marine Nature Reserve, the first Marine Conservation Zone, and are also a candidate Special Area of Conservation. The Island also boasts the only statutory No Take Zone for fishing in the UK. For further information about Lundy please visit our website at www.lundyisland.co.uk.

There is no indigenous population on Lundy. Approximately 25 people reside on the Island all year round and they are all employees of the Landmark Trust, consisting of both couples and single persons. During the season, the staff numbers are increased by two or three and at times several volunteers. The staff accommodation varies from either one to two bedroom properties, either stone-built or there are some properties in a timber-clad building known as Paradise Row. There are 23 self-catering cottages and a camp site on the Island which can be booked for holidays throughout the year. During the summer there can be up to 130 staying visitors on the Island and on days that the supply ship, M.S. Oldenburg visits, there may be up to 250 day visitors as well. The Island has to be entirely self-sufficient in respect of utility services. There is a small diesel driven generator house, a central water supply and sewage system. There is also a small shop, tavern and church. Television reception is good and the 4G internet signal is reasonable.

Transport: Lundy has its own passenger and supply vessel, MS Oldenburg, which services the Island. The ship operates April to end of October for passengers, sailing from its home port of Bideford and from Ilfracombe. Throughout the year including winter, Oldenburg operates as a cargo ship and brings all food stores, building materials, plant, spare parts, fuel oil, animal feed, laundry etc to the Island. The ship also provides transport for livestock both on and off the island. We have a winter helicopter service that flies from Hartland Point to Lundy on Mondays and Fridays from November to end of March. Travel on Oldenburg and the winter helicopter is free for Islanders.

The Farm: The established farm on Lundy already supports the islands conservation aims and objectives by managed grazing as well as providing produce for retail sale through the Islands only Tavern. As well as Lamb, pork and eggs, the farm also presently produces Venison, Soay and occasionally goat through the on island game larder. Stalkers visit the island under the farmers direction during the autumn and February to carry out an annual cull of feral stock to ensure that feral stock levels are maintained in accordance with the islands conservation management plan. Our aspiration is to become a centre of excellence for sustainable offshore farming, raising livestock on the island and showcasing the benefits to the environment, island and our livestock.

Job Description: Experience and Qualifications

As the Islands only farmer, you will manage all aspects of the domestic, feral stock, landscape and access tracks. Working in partnership with, and supported by the islands conservation team, you will manage the farm and deliver the Islands conservation objectives taking into account the islands SSSi designation. Farming Lundy is similar and comparable to upland pasture/hill farming in an environmentally sensitive setting.

We are seeking an experienced driven individual to join our small island team, who has a passion for farming and conservation and who possesses:

• An Industry recognised farming qualification.

• Extensive experience of animal welfare, sheep farming, lambing, handling livestock and the production of on-island winter fodder.

• Experience of working with the general public, delivering exceptional service and a high standard of presentation both personally and across the estate.

The Ideal candidate will also possess:

• Experience of working with a major conservation organisation or environmental bodies, e.g. Natural England, The National Trust or other similar body.

• Proven experience of conservation-led farming practices. You will possess a good working knowledge of current stewardship agreements with a clear understanding of the direction of farming nationally, coupled with and the ability to identify and maximise grant funding opportunities in balance with the island’s present and future conservation aims and objectives.

• Extensive experience in all legislation relating to farm management, including stock control, movement and food hygiene. You will own a maximum of two working dogs.

• Experience of land management, drainage, fencing and maintenance of tracks and accessways.

• Outstanding oral and written communication skills.

• The ability to work closely with the island team, assisting with other island duties and helping with the day to day running of the island.

Farming Lundy in an offshore remote location requires a practical hands-on approach and the successful candidate will be expected to have:

• A working knowledge of all farm machinery and be competent with the day-to-day care and maintenance requirements.

• ATV license, JCB and backhoe experience or be happy to qualify for these.

• A flexible approach to working hours with the ability to work under pressure in inclement weather.

• A Firearms certificate or you will be eligible and happy to apply for this.

Particular Responsibilities:

1. Advise the Island Manager / Lundy General Manager on all matters relating to the management and conservation aims of the islands farm and landscape, including the identification of application of current and future conservation driven farm practices.

2. Ensure that the farm qualifies for and maintains a recognised industry quality standard such as the “Red Tractor” Scheme.

3. Manage the islands livestock, providing the highest level of welfare, producing adequate produce for retail sale on the island annually.

4. Working with and supported by the island’s conservation team, monitor and maintain all paths, stiles, steps and tracks which are used by the public and undertake any other estate management duties.

5. Ensure all farm equipment associated with the farm management is properly maintained.

6. Ensure that the farm and island is presented to the highest possible standard.

7. Work closely with the Island Ranger and voluntary workers to facilitate conservation work on the Island.

8. Work closely with the general public, engaging with visiting educational groups as necessary.

9. Take day-to-day responsibility for all matters relating to the farm and its impact on nature conservation on the Island and to undertake all necessary works of improvement and maintenance as required.

10. Maintain close liaison with all relevant authorities and organisations interested in farming and nature conservation on the Island.

11. Assist with the many routine tasks which are necessary to keep Lundy open and accessible to both staying and day visitors throughout the year.

12. Work within the budget agreed in advance each year with the Lundy General Manager.

13. Undertake any other duties, which maybe reasonably required by the Lundy General Manager.

14. Observe all Health and Safety at Work regulations as set out by the Landmark Trust and in accordance with statutory requirements. This will include updating and reviewing risk assessments.

15. Support the islands emergency response team, either by joining the fire or coastguard teams.

Terms and Conditions:

Remuneration: £23,000 + Accommodation, Utilities and Benefits. There is an annual review and a 6 month probationary period.

Hours of Work: Generally 40 hours over 5 days, from 8am until 5pm. However, work on the Island is a part of a way of life and all staff must expect to have to work outside of these hours as and when the need arises. Generally in the summer with large numbers of visitors to the Island, staff can expect to work up to 50 hours per week. In the winter, the hours are less demanding to compensate.

Holidays: The holiday entitlement is 28 days per annum including statutory holidays. This increases in stages to 34 days after 10 years service.

Pension Scheme: There is non-contributory Pension Scheme which applies to the Warden’s post that any employee of the age of 21 may join when they have been with the Company for a year. This includes private Health insurance.

Spouse: The spouse or partner living with the successful applicant on the Island would be required to undertake general duties which involve assisting in the Tavern (kitchen and counter), the cleaning of the letting properties, the shop and other areas as required by the Island Foreman. Remuneration for this post is £15,481 per annum. Both parties would have to sign a joint contract of employment whereby each partner can only remain on the Island whilst the other partner is employed by the Trust. This is necessary to make effective use of the limited number of houses available for staff on the Island.

Accommodation: The accommodation provided is subject to availability and whether you are single or part of a couple. Properties are unfurnished but carpeted with fitted kitchens which include a fridge and cooker. The island has its own laundry for staff use. All maintenance and utility costs relating to gas, electricity, water and council tax dues are included with your appointment, paid for by The Lundy Co Ltd. There are concessions available in the Tavern and Shop for all staff.

If you are interested in this role and wish to apply, please click on the 'apply now' button.