With the weather being fairly stable we continued to put down the 75mm clean limestone on the track to Eversden, this will help prevent the track turning into a mud bath later. It’s very hard work doing this job manually but very rewarding once the track is finished; the only thing left to do is to smooth it out by dressing the top with type one limestone but that’ll be November’s job.
Another really nice job to have done was erecting the barn owl box, an awful lot of blackbird type boxes and house sparrow boxes plus a few swift boxes. The barn owl box has been placed near a crab apple tree where the barn owls are currently nesting, so why have we put up the box? Well the tree is falling apart so, just in case it fails, they have a second home if they need it. It has been interesting lately to see the number of nesting barn owls on the estate. There are at least seven pairs on 2500 acres – very impressive- and five of those pairs are using hollow trees, another pair are using a box and one pair is using a barn.
As we have been feeding the house sparrows up at Cobbs Wood Farm, their numbers have greatly increased and, now that we have Sparrow Street, we are hopeful they will grow even more next year. The blackbird boxes were made for Wimpole more than twenty years ago by a special needs school. We found them languishing in a shed so have put them to good use at last. Lastly I have bought some swift boxes as I have not seen swifts at Wimpole for a long time- it is likely that there aren’t any suitable nesting sites so, with a little help plus a CD to play their voices, we may attract these marvellous creatures.
Albert has been hard at work ploughing the arable land and cultivating it ready for drilling before the winter rains return.
It’s also that time of year when we get to see all the autumn hedgerow fruits. It seems to have been a bumper year apart from the sloes which are not so plentiful. The fieldfares, redwings, blackbirds and thrushes will be pleased to feast on these.
Now with autumn in full swing we will set about managing the hedgerows. One job that had to be done was to clear out the hedge by Cobbs Wood Farm; this is the hedge we use for the hedge laying courses (run in October) as it is a young hedge suitable for using axes and billhooks.
Seven participants turned up for the day and were taught the traditional method of hedge laying. We used our own willow binders so all the stakes and binders came off the estate. Luckily for us it was a super day with splendid autumn colours.
One highlight of the month was the visit to Wimpole by the Ancient Tree Forum and I have to say it was very pleasing to show the work accomplished by the Countryside Team. It was even more pleasing to find that we have been looking after the old trees and woodland and leaving deadwood in situ as recommended by the ATF. To see their report of the visit to Wimpole click this link .
The gallery below contains October’s autumnal views of the trees and woods on the Wimpole Estate, it was an amazing month.
Back to work and this time we had to employ the services of Eastern Tree Surgery as there were quite a few very large trees to reduce or fell alongside the very busy A1198 trunk road. Quite a dangerous job as the traffic can pass by at high speed so a traffic management system had to be used.
The work proceeded with dismantling the canopy safely then section felling the trunk until it was safe to fell the tree. All the timber was picked up with the MF390 tractor and timber trailer and removed to our woodyard.
However, some of the trees required a platform because they overhung both lanes of the A1198. It’s an expensive job but one that had to be done so that the road was safe. We will now finish off the tree planting but, as this section of wood is next to the road, we will plant mostly hazel and a few cherries or oak trees.
On another subject we have noticed a huge influx of pheasants this year. It appears that the organic farm suits their needs but in such high numbers they are having a dramatic effect on the wildlife, plus they eat all the tree seeds (especially the acorns) which will mean the natural regeneration of Wimpole’s woodlands could be in jeopardy.
Below is another gallery of the farmland scenes and some magical evening sunsets.