In November, we dug out the old irrigation ponds used in years past, to irrigate the potatoes that were grown on the farm for Walkers Crisps.
Now, I am delighted to say, they will be part of our Conservation area and from the bare earth a few months ago, we have reeds, rushes and pond weed that have naturalised there. A good friend gave us some frog spawn to put in the ponds, and I was amazed to see two brown trout swimming around in March! I can’t vouch for the tadpoles, but there are minnows darting in and out of the mud and rushes for sure!
Over the Winter months, we chopped up some of the old Willow trees that had been blown down over the years and created little wood piles to encourage the insects and small mammals. And in February, we undertook an ambitious tree planting exercise. We bought 150 small trees known as ‘whips’ from the Woodland Trust; a mixture of Alder, Oak, Beech, Elderflower, Crab Apple, Blackthorn, Birch and Wild Cherry and planted them all around our conservation area, as well as larger Chestnut and Copper Beech trees that were a Christmas present from the family. 70 Magnolia trees were also planted to celebrate the start of our new project, as well as Tree Ferns, Azaleas and Gunnera around the ponds.
In April, we saw an adult sized Hedge Hog, heard the Woodpecker for the first time in ages, and the dogs decided to give up on chasing the Pheasant, who now come up to the back door and have made friends with the hens.
Spring has definitely sprung! There are baby rabbits running around, and at night, you can hear the foxes calling. The badgers have moved home from the river bank to the bottom of the field and we are planning to put up the Wildlife Cam on a tree nearby to see if we can spot any young.