CONSERVATION - FARMING WITH NATURE
Wethele Manor is set on a 250 acre arable farm which is bordered by ancient woodland. The Rustic Herd of Dexter Cattle are rotated around the various pastures on the farm, enjoying luscious clover rich grass and clean fresh water.
The primary crops grown on the farm are wheat and oil seed rape. The farm is on high ground and enjoys unspoilt, stunning views for miles. The woodland and many hedgerows on the farm attract an abundance of wildlife which we actively encourage.
Much attention has been given to the conservation on the farm in recent years, creating wild habitats for many species of wildlife whose numbers have dwindled through modern farming practices. We have a passion for wildlife and the beautiful countryside location that Wethele Manor is situated in. These are some of the various conservation projects which have been initiated:
Restoring and laying ancient hedgerows; Not only does this increase nesting habitats for bird life and add character to the landscape, but these act as wildlife corridors between larger woodland and plantations.
The planting of thousands of native trees; Maple, Oak, Crab apple, Rowan, Holly, blackthorn, hazel, privet, beech and lime.
The restoration of ancient ponds; to promote a natural habitat for pond life such as newts and other aquatic and pond edge life.
Field margins; All fields on the farm have a 6 meter grass margin which can consist of enhanced wild flowers or specific pollen and nectar plants for the promotion and sustainability of the bumble bees.
Enhanced wild bird seed mixtures; these are grown to support the over winter feeding of native farmland birds, in which we have seen a significant increase.
Introduction of English Grey Partridge; which we are hopeful, will breed on the farm and utilize the aforementioned habitats.
As well as summer grazing and winter rations our land provides a variety of natural habitats – woodlands, wetlands, ponds, hedges and non-grazed areas. Having created many of these ‘wild’ areas we invest time managing them to ensure that they continue to provide ample feed and shelter for indigenous flora and fauna.
The most positive signs of conservation work is the increase in birdlife, including curlew, lapwing and snipe. A personal favourite is the Skylark, with their magical song in flight.
There have also been an increasing number of sightings of kingfisher, fishing in our restored ponds. This is very fulfilling and gives us all a real thrill, as this indicates that the food chain is complete. Similarly we must have a good population of mice and voles scurrying around in the long vegetation as the tawny and barn owl, kestrel and sparrow hawk are regularly seen.
Of the larger Mammals, we have seen Roe deer, hare, fox, and badger on the farm.