The event also commemorated the project’s recent success at achieving the Investors in People Award.

The Allerton project, at Loddington in Leicestershire, is renowned for reversing the 30-year national decline of nine farmland bird species in just three years, through habitat change, predator control and feeding techniques. During her visit Princess Anne was shown many of the other influential research initiatives that have been developed for wildlife, such as a new soil and water research project aimed at reducing soil erosion, the best wildlife crops to grow for farmland birds, and a novel farm waste re-cycling scheme.

She was particularly interested in a project that uses CCTV cameras to observe the large range of farmland birds that benefit from feed hoppers filled with wheat for pheasants. This enables researchers to clearly identify who eats what, and when.

Dr Alastair Leake, project manager at Allerton, said: “The Princess was genuinely interested in our wildlife research and spent considerable amounts of time discussing the finer aspects of many of our projects with individual research staff.”