His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has visited the national award winning Barnwell Farm in the heart of the Ards Peninsula.
His Royal Highness was greeted by Mr David Lindsay Lord-Lieutenant of County Down, and went on to meet Mr Roy McClenaghan, Deputy Secretary, Service Delivery Group, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Mr Steven Millar, Head of Supply Chain Development, DARD, Dr Richard Crowe, Head of Countryside management Development DARD and Mr Michael Calvert, Farm Owner.
Mr Calvert beat off national competition to become winner of the 2009 National Nature of Farming Award for his management of the Greyabbey farm that can trace its heritage back over 200 hundred years.
His Royal Highness, accompanied by Mr Calvert and Dr Crowe, toured the farmland, taking a special interest in the Rough Grass margins habitat and restored Coppiced Hedge.
The Prince of Wales had the opportunity to talk with a local hedgelaying expert and representatives of the National Hedgelaying Association of Ireland and to see and discuss a small display of traditional and modern hedging tools.
At the Wild bird crop His Royal Highness met Ms Claire Barnett, RSPB Yellowhammer Project Officer and had the opportunity to discuss the importance of providing habitats for declining bird populations.
In the nearby native tree planting area Mr Calvert invited HRH The Prince of Wales to plant a Holly tree to commemorate the visit.
Moving through the farmyard HRH viewed an indoor display of the 2009 Nature of Farming Award including a number of photographs depicting the various stages of Barnwell Farm Cottages renovation project.
Inside one of the Farm Cottages Mr Calvert presented his wife Mrs Viola Calvert, his mother Mrs Florence Calvert senior, Ms Anne Brown, Barnwell Cottage Manager and previous farm owner Mrs Annie Brooks.
His Royal Highness joined in a discussion with Dr James Robinson, RSPB Conservation Manager NI, Mr Michael Stewart, Greyabbey Conservation and Shooting Club and Mr Jim Davidson and Mr Noel Angus Rural Business, in a discussion on “Sustainability in the Countryside.
His Royal Highness accepted an invitation to sign the visitors’ book before departing for the next engagement.