We did a field trip to Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons, 300 hectares of unimproved calcareous grassland stocking up to 500 cattle during the grazing season
The area is now owned by the National Trust but the history is that
the Lord of the Manor granted the 'commoners' rights to graze and collect fuel from the poorer areas of the estate.
This system still operates with the farmers maintaining the land, benefitting from the grazing and BPS - which will be replaced by Countryside Stewardship.
The National Trust buy any capital needed but it's up to the farmers to fund fuel and feed and they are facing the same price hikes we all are.
It's a beautiful area and we were there on a beautiful day. There are over 100 species of grasses and wildflowers including orchids, rare butterflies and bats.
As we talked a group of young stock were let out onto the commons and went charging off. We came across them again later looking very chilled in the sunshine.
At the same time a horse rider was heading down the track in between the dog walkers, a mountain biker was hurtling down the steep grassy slope. It was a very happy scene but the mixed use does bring challenges like the risk of disease from dog mess.
There are no fences and the farmers told us the cattle had to be able to cross the road to get to water but that's resulted in quite a few accidents with animals being injured and killed on the road.
An interesting model with lots of benefits for environment, community and livestock, a model which relies on the goodwill of the farmers.