The Allerton Project was established in 1992 in line with the will of Lord & Lady Allerton. With the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as a partner, the Allerton’s bequeathed farm estate would be used as a foundation from which to realise the aims of the Project as set out in the deeds: To advance public education in, and conduct research in, differing farming methods and the effects thereof on the environment & wildlife, and to disseminate the useful results of such research. The Allerton Project and LEAF have worked together in many ways since then to deliver these goals.
The Allerton Project is based on 333 hectares of clay soil (Hanslope and Denchworth series) on the Loddington Estate in the rolling countryside east of Leicester, close to the border with Rutland. A mixed arable and livestock business, the crops grown are primarily winter wheat, oilseed rape, winter oats and spring beans and the pasture land is rented for grazing to a neighbouring farmer. The arable side of the farm is managed in collaboration with a neighbouring farm where minimum tillage is used across the combined area.
Since 1992, The Allerton Project has covered farming and game-keeping demonstration, research, training and advice, publications & events, but also community engagement projects such as LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, a community orchard project helping to preserve local rare apple varieties and a project to collate valuable knowledge and history of the local farmed environment, from the local community members themselves, as a published book. The Allerton Project’s research is highly regarded and much of it has helped to form the framework of the current agri-environmental policy in the UK. The current focus, in line with UK and EU agri-environmental priorities is soil and water resource protection and in turn the conservation of the associated habitats and wildlife.
The Allerton Project has an award-winning 'eco-build' visitor centre which welcomes over 3000 a year, including environmental groups, politicians and policy makers, food manufacturers and retailers, as well as the general public at Open Farm Sunday. Inspiring others to follow our example is at the heart of what we do and our nationwide Big Farmland Bird Count event is just one way we are encouraging more people to focus on supporting our native bird species.