Laura is an Atmospheric Chemist at Rothamsted Research in Devon. Laura has a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry and is currently studying the link between grazing behaviour and nitrous oxide emissions from extensive upland and intensive lowland agricultural systems. She is a key contributor to the Defra inventory of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Gill is Co-Chair of Transition Exeter and a Director of New Prosperity Devon. She has a background in education for sustainability and health economics and has lived on a Devon smallholding since 1992. She is a former Chair of Cheriton Bishop Parish Council and helped found the Cheriton Bishop Community Land Trust to provide affordable homes for local people.
Sue is an ecologist and environmentalist who has worked in conservation for over 30 years, mostly with Dartmoor National Park Authority where she was Director and led on climate change. She then ran her own environmental consultancy and has worked on sustainable tourism and biodiversity projects. She was a Director of Europarc Atlantic Isles, and Chair of Natural Devon for 5 years, leading nationally on biodiversity. Currently, Sue is the Chair of Devon Wildlife Trust, a Moorland Guide and writes and lectures on wildlife and conservation.
Adam is a senior Farm Conservation Adviser and has been an adviser for Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) for 14 years. His role involves providing environmental advice to farmers on a wide range of subjects including habitat management, climate mitigation and adaptation, grazing management and farm infrastructure. He has a broad background in practical conservation and farm management having started his career with the RSPB on the East Devon Pebblebed Heath’s and previously managed a dairy goat herd and run his own flock of Exmoor Horn sheep alongside his advisory role. Previously Adam represented FWAG on the group responsible for drafting the first Green House Gas Action Plan for UK Agriculture and currently represents FWAG at a national policy level on the Defra and Rural Payments Agency stakeholder group for the delivery of Agri-Environment Schemes.
Alex Stevens, NFU Regional Policy Manager
After gaining a degree in Politics, Alex began working in Rural Regeneration and later Strategic Planning for a District Council before spending a number of years helping farmers to access Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funds in Somerset and the West of England – in that time gaining grant funding for everything from milk processing equipment to an elephant enclosure! Since taking up a role with the NFU in 2011 Alex has worked across the whole agricultural spectrum in the South West with standout areas of work including flooding support on the Somerset Levels, coordinating EU Referendum and General Election activity within the region, aiding NFU members through various incarnations of the Common Agricultural Policy and leading on lobbying and stakeholder engagement.
Chris Gregory, MVO, BSc, FRICS
Education: Chris holds BSc in Estate Management and is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Chris started working for the Duchy of Cornwall in 1988 and is Land Steward for Western District and the Isles of Scilly and as such responsible for a team managing some 100,000 acres of land, including a substantial upland estate on Dartmoor, lowland farming, forestry and rural business interests in Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly.
Mark Prior, Area Director, Forestry Commission
Mark is Chartered Forester with over 30 years’ experience, mainly in the south of England and Wales. Previous specialist roles have been leading the South West (SW) Bioheat programme for the SW Regional Development Agency and Forestry Commission. Currently leading the Forestry Commission team in the South West. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands. We work with two agencies Forestry England who manage the nation’s forests and Forest Research. Mark has lived in South Devon for the last 20 years.
Peter Burgess, Devon Wildlife Trust
Peter has spent over 20 years working in the conservation sector in Devon. He finds the habitats and species supported in the county infinitely inspiring.
Peter has diverse experience developing and delivering conservation and land management projects in the South West. He was involved in one of the earliest landscape scale projects – the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project in 1999 and with the Reconnecting the Culm project for Butterfly Conservation. His first role at DWT was as project manager of Working Wetlands in the first stages of the Trust’s landscape scale conservation of Culm grassland.
Peter has a practical land management background, which means that development of DWT’s Living Landscape projects are well grounded and achievable. Peter works with and has established a wide range of partnerships in the county and is a Director of the DR Company which supports rural regeneration, environmental and development projects.
Sarah Jennings is the County Ecologist for Devon County Council and Devon Local Nature Partnership Manager working with a wide range of partners across Devon on wildlife strategy and delivery. Work currently includes providing expert advice to planners and developers on large infrastructure schemes, coordinating a Devon approach to biodiversity net gain, Chairing the Devon Nature Recovery Network Steering Group and developing a community network for wildlife action. She sits on various wildlife groups including Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnerships, North Devon Biosphere and the national Terrestrial Biodiversity Group. Sarah wrote the Devon State of Nature report, Chaired and led the Devon Special Species initiative and organises Local Nature Partnership conferences and events. Prior to joining Devon County Council in 2008 Sarah worked in a range of wildlife conservation roles covering issues such as agricultural policy, farmland birds, green infrastructure, diffuse pollution and estuarine management. Sarah has an MSc in Rural Development from Plymouth University, a Degree in Geography from Cambridge University and is a full member of CIEEM.
David was educated at St John’s College, Oxford and at the Royal Agricultural University Cirencester, where he is now an honorary Fellow. Previously he worked in the Ministry of Defence. He subsequently qualified as a rural Chartered Surveyor. He was President of the County Land and Business Association between (2005-2007), a Commissioner of the Crown Estate (2008-2017) and of English Heritage (2009-2013). He served on the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency and chaired the South-West Board for London 2012. He then chaired the Government’s ‘Future of Farming’ review (2013) and DEFRA’s SW Rural and Farming Network (still active). He was a member of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission in 2007 and Rural Housing Policy Group in 2015. He became Chairman of Beeswax Dyson Farming in 2014 and serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Trust. In 2017 he chaired the SW Rural Productivity Commission and became an Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Food, Farming and Countryside Commissioner. He has run his own small estate in Devon since 1979 and a consultancy business. He became Lord-Lieutenant of Devon in 2015. He has been chairman of Cadbury parish since 1982 and his interests include sport, having played first class cricket and club rugby.
Mary Quicke MBE DL, Executive Director at Quicke’s Traditional Ltd integrated cheesemaking and farming family business in Devon making 250 traditional clothbound cheese/year from 600 cows pasture based in 2 calving blocks. Arable farming for cash crops and to feed cows. Photovoltaic panels power cheese storage. Quicke Estate as a whole including managing woodland sequesters more carbon than it emits. Developing Academy of Cheese, a certification scheme whose aim is cheese sold for value and sustainability not price. Food Standard Agency Board Member, Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board Dairy Sector Board Member, Chairman of Council, Devon County Agricultural Association.
Martyn has been farming on the family farm for nearly 40 years. The farm is at Shillingford Abbot, on the edge of Exeter, on beautiful red soils. The farm was intensive arable but converted to organic 20 years ago. He started the brand ‘Shillingford Organics’ and the farm now grows and markets a whole variety of Organic vegetables, salads and herbs for year-round production as well as Organic cereals and apples. The farm now employs 9 people.
We sell our produce locally and as fresh as possible. We do this through our box scheme/online shop and at Exeter Farmers Market. Our aim is to be an integral part of our local community. We run a series of open days and have established a ‘Farm School’, giving people an opportunity to engage with growing food and nature.
Dr Laurence Couldrick, Westcountry Rivers Trust
Dr Laurence Couldrick is Chief Executive Officer of the Westcountry Rivers Trust and has been pioneering catchment management for 18 years. Over that time he has developed several multi-million pound projects and long term funding streams to deliver improvements across multiple catchments including developing Payments for Ecosystem Service schemes for water quality, flood risk and carbon offsetting.
David Rickwood , Woodland Trust
David, has been site manager for the Woodland Trust on Dartmoor since 2013. Covering a portfolio of around 1000 hectares across seven woodland complexes, these are predominately ancient woodland sites dominated by commercial conifer planted in the 20th century. The main focus of activity is the restoration of the ancient woodland, the richest terrestrial habitat in the UK.
David has been at the forefront of developing a partnership with the National Trust on Dartmoor. The focus has been looking at ways of delivering a landscape scale vision for nature as identified in the government white paper written by Professor John Lawton “Making Space for Nature in 2010” . This stated “ With the effects of climate change and other pressures on our land, now is the time to see how we can enhance ecological England further. Linking together areas to make ecological corridors and a connected network, could have real benefits in allowing nature to thrive.”
Between 2001 and 2006 David was the Rural Development Forestry Advisor for the South West Forest project in North Devon and North Cornwall. The project created nearly 3500 hectares of new woodland with private landowners. The woods created were focused on the objectives of the landowners. Both broadleaf and conifer were planted and over a period 9 years this became the largest woodland creation project in England outside of the National Forest in the past 20 years.