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Prince Charles almost unrecognisible in muddy tweeds and flat cap as he lays hedges at Sandringham

In a battered old tweed coat and cap, knees covered in mud, this is Prince Charles at his most content.

He is pictured laying hedges at the Queen‘s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, which three years ago he began converting to a fully organic operation.

Charles, who says a more holistic approach to farming would bring ecological and commercial benefits, shows off his handiwork in the latest edition of Country Life. 

Prince Charles is pictured laying hedges at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, which three years ago he began converting to a fully organic operation.

Prince Charles is pictured in conversation with Emily Swan of Natural England as they examine the host of species that earned Sandringham its designation as as a site of importance

Prince Charles is pictured in conversation with Emily Swan of Natural England as they examine the host of species that earned Sandringham its designation as as a site of importance

Charles, who says a more holistic approach to farming would bring ecological and commercial benefits, shows off his handiwork in the latest edition of Country Life

Charles, who says a more holistic approach to farming would bring ecological and commercial benefits, shows off his handiwork in the latest edition of Country Life

‘It has always seemed to be somewhat logical to embrace a farming system that works with nature and not against her,’ he tells the magazine.

‘At a global scale, it is becoming ever clearer to me that the very future of humanity may depend to a large extent on a mainstream transition to more sustainable farming practices.’

The prince warns that, much like the overuse of antibiotics has in humans, artificial fossil fuel-derived fertilisers and chemical pesticides are having a catastrophic effect on the soil. 

For 24 years, some ten per cent of Sandringham has been run organically but now he is working towards converting the rest of the land, as well as inspiring some tenant farmers to follow suit.

Picture Beekeeper Leigh Goodsell tending his bees, which have browsed the estate since the organic conversion began three years ago. The chemical-free Sandringham fields, many of which are full of clover and phacella, offer a feast for the bees

Picture Beekeeper Leigh Goodsell tending his bees, which have browsed the estate since the organic conversion began three years ago. The chemical-free Sandringham fields, many of which are full of clover and phacella, offer a feast for the bees

The prince warns that, much like the overuse of antibiotics has in humans, artificial fossil fuel-derived fertilisers and chemical pesticides are having a catastrophic effect on the soil. Pictured: Harvesting at Sandringham

The prince warns that, much like the overuse of antibiotics has in humans, artificial fossil fuel-derived fertilisers and chemical pesticides are having a catastrophic effect on the soil. Pictured: Harvesting at Sandringham

Charles has taken great delight seeing insects thrive as a result of the removal of pesticides and inorganic sprays, and has been hands-on in helping to recreate hedgerows, wildlife corridors, bird boxes, beetle banks and field margins.

‘As patron of the Hedgelaying Society and a practising hedgelayer, I am always proud of maintaining a traditional skill that is of timeless importance,’ he says.

He has brought in rare breeds, including hardy Aberfield sheep, which are an important part of the ecosystem, eating weeds and fertilising the soil with their dung. 

Charles has taken great delight seeing insects thrive as a result of the removal of pesticides and inorganic sprays, and has been hands-on in helping to recreate hedgerows, wildlife corridors, bird boxes, beetle banks and field margins

Charles has taken great delight seeing insects thrive as a result of the removal of pesticides and inorganic sprays, and has been hands-on in helping to recreate hedgerows, wildlife corridors, bird boxes, beetle banks and field margins

For 24 years, some ten per cent of Sandringham has been run organically but now he is working towards converting the rest of the land, as well as inspiring some tenant farmers to follow suit

For 24 years, some ten per cent of Sandringham has been run organically but now he is working towards converting the rest of the land, as well as inspiring some tenant farmers to follow suit

‘It’s a delight to see British native breeds grazing on the land once again,’ he says.

‘Sandringham is no different to all British farming operations which, in recognising that sustainable business and profitable business are one and the same, are going to have to be increasingly adaptable if they are going to find a way to thrive in the changing climate.’

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited an anti-violence project near Edinburgh on their Scotland tour yesterday. 

Kate tried her hand at being a music producer in the centre’s studio, only for William to joke: ‘What’s that? It sounded like a cat!’

The full article about Charles is in the latest issue of Country Life magazine, on sale now

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited an anti-violence project near Edinburgh on their Scotland tour yesterday. Kate tried her hand at being a music producer in the centre's studio, only for William to joke: 'What's that? It sounded like a cat!'

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited an anti-violence project near Edinburgh on their Scotland tour yesterday. Kate tried her hand at being a music producer in the centre’s studio, only for William to joke: ‘What’s that? It sounded like a cat!’

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