We are working with our local bat society to promote
habitats for our bat population. With the help
of the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme we have
installed a number of bat boxes in strategic positions
offering bat accommodation during different times
of the year.
Boxes are inspected twice a year to monitor populations
and trees are closely looked at if they need to
be felled. The introduction of woodland ponds
has provided our bats with a new insect food source
that had not existed before.
small group of local natural beekeepers has started
to place bee hives around our arable reversion
land, The aim is to keep bees in as near natural
conditions as possible to promote health and vigour
and the ability to cope with pests and pathogens.
Colonies will be kept with minimal interference;
allowed to reproduce naturally by swarming; sustained
with their own honey and not treated with chemicals
and medication. These colonies will contribute
to the Estate’s feral bee population.
We have a large wild flower meadow that has been
sown with wild flower seeds collected from ancient
grasslands around Wiltshire and Berkshire. Together
with a recently planted pollen and nectar strip
it will offer an excellent food source for both
honey and bumble bees from spring to autumn.
Three years ago we found an
injured short eared owl and approached our local
hawk conservancy trust for help. We asked how
we could help our local barn owl population and
as luck would have it they had just instigated
a program called ‘Fund-a-bird’. This
involves them sitting various sized nesting boxes
in woods and buildings, all sponsored by members
of the public. These nest boxes are specifically
built to help Kestrels and Little, Tawny and Barn
Owls and we have had some success with this program.
All the wild areas and field
margins left uncropped provide excellent food
sources for the birds of preys. Already this year
we have had a pair of breeding Hobby and now have
a resident pair of Red Kites.
Our Grey Partridge population
fluctuates widely due weather conditions when
the chicks hatch in the spring. Back in the early
1950’s these birds that are well suited
to our landscape, where very numerous. However,
the population was hit very badly in the cold
winter of 1963. In the following years numbers
never recovered due to the lack of vermin control,
agricultural sprays and the loss of nesting sites.
We are pleased to say that we currently have about
50 pairs on the estate and increasing partridge
numbers is at the forefront of our environmental
The measures we are putting in
place to help the grey partridge include:
||Providing wide hedge margins
||Providing cultivated arable
||Leaving unharvested and
unsprayed wheat margins to provide summer
and winter food.
||Beetle banks to provide
||We stopped grey partridge
||No red leg partridge are
bred on the farm.
|| Fields are not rolled after
||We control magpies, rooks
,crows and foxes all of which destroy nests
and kill chicks.
||We try to educating the
public so that they keep to footpaths and
away from field margins
||Being part of the game conservancy
Hares have always been numerous
on the Estate and their numbers are stable. We
find that they do very little damage to our arable
crops and are wonderful to have around. We leave
nature to control the population and of course
this provides carrion for our ever increasing
Buzzard and Red Kite populations.
Over the last few years it has been noticeable
that we have seen increases in song bird numbers.
Measures we have taken to help these birds are:
bird seed plots for winter feed.
||Planting new hedge rows
and restore woodland habitat.
||Spinning tailing wheat
onto tracks and roads during winter months
with the mule.
||Restricting hedge cutting
to every 3 years and carrying it out in
late December and early January so that
the birds can have a food source.
||Controlling vermin and
restrict domestic cats on the Estate.
||Providing nesting boxes.
||Leaving unsprayed and
un-harvested wheat margins to increase insect
||Erecting feeding stations
in the woods to supplement the natural food
during periods of cold weather
and other Plover
The Estate provides an ideal
habitat for lapwings. As well as the lapwing plots
as part of the stewardship scheme we are involved
with, large open fields provide Plovers with an
ideal nesting habitat away from preditors.
Golden Plover, like the one pictured
below, used to be a common bird a few years ago
but have suffered a fall in numbers in the 1960's.
They are only now recovering and we now frequently
see them in our large open cereal fields.
estate's butterfly numbers have increased
significantly since the introduction of
the higher level stewardship scheme. Particularly
beneficial, have been the cultivated wild
flower margins and the wild bird plots,
both providing a rich variety of plants
species, which in turn caters for different
needs of each butterfly species.
Other benefical habitats
have been the wild flower meadow, the newly
coppiced woodland areas and woodland margin
This year the estate is
growing a wide variety of single species
wild flower types in specially prepared
cultivated plots. The aim is to collect
seed from these plants in order to sow them
around the Estate to provide laval food
for some of our rarest butterflies.
Fifty dormouse nesting boxes have recently been
installed in selective areas of our woodland and
we are part of the national dormouse protection
programme. We are mindful of the need to protect
wildlife corridors and under stewardship, we are
restoring hazel stands by coppicing all our woodland
over a period of ten years. Recent studies have
shown that our boxes are being used by dormice
and the careful woodland restoration measures
we are adopting, will hopefully help to repopulate
surrounding woodland areas.
We have a healthy population of deer on the Estate.
These are predominatly Roe deer with a few Muntjac
and the occasional Fallow. Without careful management
the deer population would get out of control.
This leads to crop damage and the decline in new
As well as selectively removing
Bucks and Does from the estate, the stalkers also
take out wounded animals to maintain a healthy
and stable population. Over the past few years
all newly coppiced areas have recovered well,
which indicates that we are successfully getting
the balance right.
See more flora and fauna at www.hampshirewildlife.co.uk