The Grounds

Garden and Grounds

The grounds have long been kept as traditional as possible. This is of particular benefit for film crews as there is minimal work in preparing for period filming. However some particular plants have seen better days, so the time has come to uproot and replace.

This has the potential to leave hedges with spaces until the new plants mature to the point where they can be clipped in line with the surrounding foliage. Of course species will be accurately matched wherever possible, so given time the replacements will be completely unnoticeable.yew topiary in nurseryImage by Hedgeworx

In addition to hedging we felt some of the specimen trees need major cutting back and maintenance, and in a few specific cases replacing completely. There are suppliers who import enormous topiary and we aim to replace like for like. Therefore this should be completely unnoticeable, other than while the works are in progress.

There are also some masonry works which will require maintenance over the next few years, however we think this should be delayed until as late as possible. The reason being that whilst it will ultimately improve the appearance of the gardens, in the short term it may require heavy machinery and excessive footfall on easily damaged areas, particularly lawns.

The plan is also to increase the wildlife areas. Whilst these are out of sight, there are a number of new plant species which can be introduced, these in turn will attract a wide range of insects and beetles. It is hoped that the increase in insects will attract birds, bats, lizards and other wildlife, this will help the eco system and it’s hoped ultimately assist in natural pest control without the need for artificial spraying.

wild garden for nature

Everything is only at the initial stages at the moment and consultation will be taken before any changes are put into place.

The Local Wildlife

Being and older building surrounded by countryside the house is not just surrounded by nature but is a refuge for wildlife too, with the river running close by, a reservoir around a quarter of a mile away and a large area of woodland behind us, you are never far away from nature.

The local deer population seems to have grown over the last couple of years, both red deer and Muntjacks are often seen muntjac deergrazing in the open fields. Also squirrels (albeit grey as opposed to our red ones) seem to have been increasing in numbers of late.

The roof of the building is said to have colonies of bats in there, this only came to light when construction work was due to begin and the surveyor found them roosting in the rafters, due to their protected status a portion of the work had to be delayed until they had finished bringing up their young. This was several years back, although I’m told that they will usually continue to roost in the same place if possible, so the chances are that they are still there now. Also the mix of water, woodland and open countryside means they could be almost any of our indigenous British species.

water volesWater voles and mink are both said to have been seen at the river and there is even a roumour that otters are present there, although I do find this highly unlikely and there has been no confirmed sighting from a reliable source. I would expect that if they were there a local conservation group would have undertaken a monitoring scheme to keep an eye on their progress. It’s quite likely that any sightings are just a mink, wrongly identified instead. You can buy loads of different monitoring type of equipment, so there’s no doubt that it would be quite easy to trap or photograph them.

Rats are an obvious problem all over the UK and our waterways are a particular hot spot. If you live near a waterway, or in town particularly close to a restaurant you will likely have a lot of rats, there are humane traps available, so anyone can keep on top of the problem.

This year I have seen a huge number of Bumble bees, I don’t know if their numbers are on the increase or if the weather has somehow worked in their favor, but I can’t remember ever having seen so many. Of course it could just be that their nest is close by somewhere.

The local beekeeper is also often around tending to his hives, although I’m told it’s been a bad year for honeybees as they built up early in the warm weather we had back in March, then have struggled to get out to feed due to the low temperatures and high volumes of rain we’ve had this spring and summer. He is not Bee Hivesexpecting a great honey crop this year, you can see updates about how he is getting on here

The raptors are another regular sighting around here, Buzzards, Red Kites and Kestrels are all regularly seen and seem to do well feeding on the mice and voles which are abundant in the hedgerows and fields. Speaking of which, there must be some kind of subsidy available to farmers this year to encourage them to leave fields to grow as wild meadow. I’ve seen several, which were previously arable but have now been left to grow wild, I expect they will be cutting them for hay at some point soon, but it still leaves a great opportunity for wildflowers to grow and provide nectar and pollen for both the wild insects and our local beekeepers wards.