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Deeping St Nicholas wildlife champion to make his photo collection free

One of the first batches of pictures to be released
One of the first batches of pictures to be released

The owner of conservation award-winning Vine House Farm in Deeping St Nicholas is making his entire wildlife photography library freely available online, with all images totally royalty-free.

The collection of Nicholas Watts MBE, which totals over 10,000 images, will be released in batches with the first release having already taken place ahead of Christmas.

Nicholas Watts MBE
Nicholas Watts MBE

Then throughout 2018, the rest of the collection will be published, with a release scheduled for every month.

The majority of the collection is of birds, with many of the shots taken at Vine House Farm where Nicholas has worked tirelessly for many decades to reverse the trend of farmland bird decline.

This work has involved a very wide range of measures, which include hedgerow planting, creation of numerous ponds, wild flower meadows, sympathetic management of drainage dykes, generous field margins to allow seed-rich weeds to grow, and old farm buildings restored for barn owls to nest in.

And despite all of this work and the running of the 2,000-plus acre farm and involvement in the bird food business, Nicholas has still been able to pursue a passion for photographing the birds and other wildlife on his farm and beyond.

One of Nicholas Watts' free photographs
One of Nicholas Watts' free photographs

Nicholas takes up the story and also explains the reason he decided to share his vast library of photographs: “I’ve always taken a very hands-on approach to running my farm and aiming to make a positive difference to the wildlife that we share the land with.

“This means that much of my time is out in the fields rather than in an office, so taking a camera with me has always seemed the obvious thing to do.

“The main reason I wanted my collection to be freely available to anyone, is that it’s a further practical way I can raise awareness of the importance of farming with wildlife and the environment in mind, plus more specifically the need for action to reverse the trend of declining songbird numbers.

“I also hope my work will inspire more people – especially the younger generation – to take up nature photography.”

The first batch of images from Nicholas’ photo collection is available now from The Vine House Farm website: www.vinehousefarm.co.uk

• Vine House Farm operates on over 2,000 acres in the Lincolnshire Fens.

The business is family-owned, with Nicholas’ daughter Lucy and son-in-law Robert supporting him in the day-to-day running of what is now a complex farm operation and wider commercial business.

The farm has a number of different revenue streams, with the main ones being potatoes, which are sold to supermarkets and for processing, as well as sugar beet and combinable seed crops. Some of the crops on the farm are grown organically.

Many of the seed crops are for a highly successful bird food business which has seen Vine House Farm diversify into this growing market, and one where it deals directly with its customers as it trades online and takes phone orders.

Nicholas gained his MBE as a result of many decades of work to reverse the decline of birds and other wildlife on the farm, plus his tireless approach to inform and educate others about how a farm can still be a commercial success whilst managing it in a way which benefits wildlife and the wider environment.

Many other awards have been gained by Nicholas for this work, plus it has also resulted in a decade-long relationship with The Wildlife Trusts.


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