AWARD-WINNING farmer Robert Philipson will be hosting a biographical talk which details his life growing up on the upland family farm he now runs in the Allen Valleys, and the farming methods he uses to work in harmony with the natural environment.

Robert’s first speech, ‘My Life as a Farmer in the Valley’ will be packed with anecdotes on his childhood in the Allen Valleys, and humorous tales of his farming education as he learnt to run High Sinderhope farm.

“I’ll be talking about the various ways I had to diverse in order to keep the farm running, including the launch of Sinderhope Pony Trekking Centre 25 years ago, which at the time was a stab in the dark,” he said.

Robert is devoted to taking care of the environment, and his outstanding practice in bird conservation was recognised last year when he was awarded the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership’s Pendlebury Award for his conservation work – particularly his protection of upland wading birds.

“Lapwings, snipes and curlews call the farm home because the conditions are just right,” he said. “The leftover hay from the lambing season attracts the lapwings, who will nest themselves in the leftover hay from the stables, and the ponies’ dung attracts plenty of beetles so there is enough food to go around for all species. I think what many people don’t realise is that you don’t have to sacrifice farming for the environment. There are many ways which farming can complement the wildlife.”

The talk will take place on February 12 at 7pm at the High Forest Centre, Sinderhope.