The ranger team have been flying around the estate working on lots of different projects, all while reduced in numbers from various illnesses so please bear with me if the updates are sporadic! The Smethcote lane hedge has been finished with just the brash to be burned once we can gather it up - we need the field to dry out a bit before we can drive on and scoop it up. Our team plus some of the SSNTV have laid a good long section of maiden hedge along another nearby lane, and we are now beavering away on a 100m section of much older hedge at Cronkhill Farm.
|A Schwegler 2F bat box|
Our first guided walk of the year was a big success last Sunday with Charlotte showing a group round the Mile Walk looking at winter tree identification. The new 2016 events leaflet is now available and has all of our walks printed on it for the year if you would like to join us - as well as some old favourites we have some new walks this year, including a tour of the best photography spots, meet the Parkland Gardeners and an all ability walk that will be very short in distance but full of information on how we manage the park.
Next week we are working with pupils from a local primary school who will be helping us to plant up the new orchard at Berwick Wharf. The orchard will be mixed fruit, made up of apples, pears, quinces, plums, greengages, mirabelles and a medlar - I'm very excited to see how this orchard turns out and look forward to a delicious harvest in a few years time. Mirabelles are part of the prunus family and the fruits are very small, rounded plums, almost cherry sized. If you are wondering what a medlar looks like there is one growing outside the Bothy by the Walled Garden - the fruits make a very tasty jelly.
We have a lot of timber to gather in from woodland thinnings and dangerous tree works which will be dried, chipped and stored to use in the biomass boiler that will be built later this year to heat the Stables and Mansion. One issue at the moment is access to the wood - the ground is still so wet in places from the soggy winter and flooding that we can't pull the wood out without risking getting stuck or making a huge mess.
|Flooding at Brompton earlier this year as seen from the entrance to Cronkhill Farm|
March 1st is the start of another new financial year and 2015 saw Attingham having another record-breaking year in terms of visitor numbers - despite not having a Frost Fair or Food Fair we had over 403,000 people through the door. Let's see what 2016 brings!