The Marlborough Downs Nature Enhancement Partnership
Robert Cooper (Chair)
Robert is passionate about the countryside and has farmed in the environs of Avebury for some 50 years. He has embraced all of the environmental schemes over the years, resulting in a farm that is vibrant in flora and fauna. Beside arable and contract farming, Robert owned the renowned Noremead Herd of pedigree Holsteins, long regarded as one of the finest in the UK, winning every major Show in the land, and exporting dairy stock and semen throughout the world before BSE and TB took it’s toll. He has a keen interest in the milk industry, set up Selkley Vale Milk Ltd, which he chaired for 20 years, and is a past president of Holstein UK.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, a Liveryman of the City, and past vice-chairman of the Education Committee of the Worshipful Company of Farmers. He has served as an external examiner to Harper Adams, and served on innumerable local Committees, including Church Warden for 45 years!
Chris was the Managing Director of Musgrave Management Systems, and before his retirement managed four holdings on the Marlborough Downs covering around four and a half thousand acres. Chris has a very strong commitment to the concept of 'profitable farming with a care for the environment' and the outstanding biodiversity on land he managed is testament to this ethos.
Chris is Vice Chairman of Musgrave PLC, a family-owned company which controls 28% of the Irish groceries market. He sits on the Game Conservancy Lowland Steering Committee, as well as being one of the Council of Partners for the North Wessex Downs AONB, and a Governor of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
Arthur is a partner in the Cirencester office of Savills and provides Estate management advice to private Estates in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, as well as being responsible for valuation work in Cirencester. He has expertise in advising clients on taxation issues including Agricultural Property Relief, Conditional Exemption and related matters.
As a Trustee of The Burderop Estate in the north east corner of the Marlborough Downs, Arthur manages 1750 acres, including Burderop Wood SSSI and six County Wildlife Sites.
In his spare time he farms organic red deer and cereals on the family farm near Tetbury, which won the Gloucestershire FWAG Silver Pintail Award for lesser horseshoe bat conservation.
Matt is the Head of Sustainable Development and the Wroughton site for the Science Museum Group where he provides advice to the organisation on environmental, biodiversity and sustainability issues and leads projects looking to improve energy efficiency and reduce resource consumption.
At Wroughton he is responsible for the overall care of the 545-acre former airfield where the Museum stores 30,000+ large objects from its collections. This site comprises of grassland, woodland (both newly planted and ancient) and concrete runways and associated infrastructure, within which are two county wildlife sites and a SSSI. Biodiversity enhancements on the site include barn owl, kestrel, small bird and bat boxes, management of the chalk grassland CWS and 43,000 new trees mimicking the adjoining Clouts Wood. Matt is enthusiastic about countryside and believes that business and biodiversity go hand in hand. Recent projects have included an innovative award winning museum store made from hemp!
Robin has been farming all his working life moving from Hampshire to the 1000 acre family farm at Manor Farm, Avebury Trusloe in 1981. He now farms with his son Ben and in addition also contract farms in the local area.
He joined the original Countryside Stewardship Scheme in 2000 and firmly believes that farming and conservation work well together, noticing an increase in farmland birds, flora and fauna. In 2016 the Butler family hosted Open Farm Sunday which was a resounding success with a record number of visitors.
Robin is a past director of Wiltshire Grain and sits on a number of local committees including the Avebury World Heritage Site Steering Committee.
Vicki attends board meetings as the representative of the non-farming stakeholders who are involved in our work as Associate Members.
Vicki has lived on the Marlborough Downs with her husband and two daughters for over twenty years. Together they have worked at creating an environmentally friendly holding, surrounded by farmland, where wildlife and a miriad of pets live in harmony.
Having been passionate about field sports all her life, she is also now dedicated to combining these pursuits with conservation and land management.
She has served on several local committees over the years.
Teresa Dent (GWCT)
Teresa has lived and worked all her life in the countryside. Having taken a degree in Agriculture at Reading University, she joined Land and Estate Agents Strutt & Parker as a farming consultant. She specialised in farm business management and acted as a managing agent and consultant for many clients in the south and west of England. She was a partner with the firm for 13 years.
She joined what was then The Game Conservancy, and is now the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) as Chief Executive at the end of 2001. In this role, she has been able to combine her practical and business experience of farming and land management with the conservation prescriptions and policy produced by GWCT's scientists.
Teresa believes in practical, pragmatic conservation that finds space for wildlife alongside economic land uses and works with a number of farmer groups. She sits on the Natural England board and is a Fellow of the Royal Agriculture Society of England.
Richard Broadhead (Wiltshire Council)
Richard represents Wiltshire Council in the Partnership. He started his working life organising activity holidays and cottage lets in North Yorkshire and first became involved with the management of public rights of way and access to the countryside in 1983 when working for the Ranger Service of the North York Moors National Park Authority.
Richard has also worked at North Yorkshire County Council, City of Sunderland Council and North Somerset Council before joining Wiltshire County Council in 2003 as Public Rights of Way Manager. His current role is Rights of Way and Countryside Manager within Environment Services at Wiltshire Council. Richard is a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way Management (IPROW).
Jemma Batten (Black Sheep Countryside Management)
Originally from a Yorkshire farming family, Jemma started Black Sheep in 2002 after various jobs including lecturer in land-based colleges, researcher for the BBC Natural History Unit, Countryside Stewardship Scheme adviser for FRCA, and agri-environment consultant with another small independent consultancy.
Jemma has known and worked for many of the Marlborough Downs farmers for years and designed and managed the MDNIA and Space for Nature projects on their behalf. As well as representing Black Sheep in the Partnership, Jemma is the overall project director and spends around two days a week working for the Marlborough Downs farmers, with the remaining five days dedicated to managing another farmer group on Salisbury Plain, juggling the rest of her long-suffering clients, home life, two dogs, riding, and even a bit of travelling when possible.
Company Secretary and Accountant
Anne Tew (Financial Direction)
Anne is an experienced accountant, company secretary, adult education teacher and mentor who has worked in a range of settings to achieve turnaround, growth and development. She specialises in adding value to organisations through performance management, restructuring, implementing new systems and processes while ensuring staff are fully trained and supported to deal with change and to carry out the roles required by developing organisations.
She works for a range of clients, as an executive and non executive director as well as advising board members in financial and governance matters as a company secretary, consultant or executive mentor. In addition to her core areas of expertise, Anne also has experience in HR, premises, quality assurance, risk and marketing.
Anne has worked with a range of clients from both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors and gained particular expertise in the requirements of charity accounting, including spending four years as the finance director of a medium sized charitable company.