April 2021 at Stourton

Events at Stourton

We are delighted to announce that the Beyond the Woods festival is confirmed and coming back to us on the 6th and 7th August where it will take place in the parkland overlooking the lake!  You can buy your tickets now by following the link.

We are just putting some finishing touches to our own plans to re-open over the next few months. We have definitely missed the buzz of events on the estate and we can’t wait to welcome you back from July.  At this stage we are thinking that we will open up the arboretum to camp in for a restricted number of people to come and camp out as well as hosting some open weekends on selected weekends.

We will let you know as soon as we can what the confirmed dates are!  Please keep an eye on Facebook and your inboxes for all the information once it’s available.

 Keep your play areas safe with our quality assured play chip

On the estate we produce two types of play chip that meet BSEN1177 and are suitable for use in play areas, both domestically and commercially.  This is our standard play chip and also our pine nuggets.

woodchipThe safety standard ensures that, when laid to an appropriate depth of 150-300mm it can absorb impact enough to prevent serious injury. We also ensure that during production the process that the chippings are screened to remove fine dust and also sharp or too long pieces.  It is also very important to point out that our play chip contains no additives, toxins or that the timber used to create chip has had no chemicals applied to them.

Both types of play chip can be delivered free of charge within a 20 mile radius of LN9 5PB.  We can deliver further afield, please contact us to discuss this.

Also please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any advice on how much you should order to provide adequate and safe coverage for your play area.

On The Farm

As is fairly typical with this blog I’m going to start with the weather! As I’m sure you will have noticed we have gone from being too wet through February into an extended period of dry weather! While initially this helped us to get on with our spring drilling program (and we are glad that we did, the dry weather is now hurting the crops we have in the ground. This has been compounded by the ‘frostiest’ April for 60 years. The combination of frost, lack of rain and large diurnal temperature variation (difference between daytime and night-time temperature) has done significant harm to the potential of our crops. With such cold soil and air temperatures, plant development is held back. The crops are also unable to take up and/or use sufficient nutrients. This is compounded by lack of rain to dissolve surface applied fertilisers and ‘wash’ them into the soil solution for the plant roots to access.

As mentioned in the previous blog we had just finished sowing our sugar beet crop. This emerged in good time but has since been subject to the extended period of frost. While the plants are at a very early stage and don’t look particularly ‘happy’ with life we cant find any evidence that there has been any ‘frost kill’. However, due to beet being a biennial plant we are concerned that the cold period may cause the plant to vernalize and therefore enter its’ seed production phase during this growing season. These vernalized plants are known as bolters and are very bad news for a number of reasons. Firstly, bolters concentrate their energy on seed production, this means poor root growth and low sugar content of the root. Secondly, large numbers of bolters will shade the crop in vegetative growth and thus reducing yield. Thirdly, each bolter will produce 1000 viable seeds or more. These seeds will remain in the soil seed bank and will proliferate in a following beet crop. Mechanical weeding and hand pulling are the only truly effective solutions to ‘weedy beet’ within a sugar beet crop and are very expensive to carry out. We have all of our fingers and toes crossed that we avoid the picture painted above!

In other news we have largely completed our nitrogen fertiliser applications to all crops, with a small balance to apply to winter wheat and sugar beet. Thoughts have now moved to protecting the crops from disease and competition from broad leaved weeds.

Ken is helping out with some demolition and building work on the wider estate at the moment. We are also waiting for rain and warmer conditions so that we can sow our stewardship buffer strips and pollen and nectar mixes. Hopefully we can get on with these soon so they can establish strongly and provide good habitat for insect, bird and mammalian life on the farm.

Harvest Job Opportunity

We have a vacancy available in our harvest team.  This is a great opportunity to work as part of our harvest team across the Lincolnshire Wolds this summer.  You will be required from July – September, previous experience is preferred.  For more details or to apply please email Oliver.Smith@stourtonestates.co.uk.

Deer Diary

Since our last news story in March we have been busy preparing for the installation of the new roundhouse, which will serve as a winter shelter and handling facility for the deer herd.  We have felled some trees to make room, the wood from which we will process and turn into high quality play chip, and we have had to get the diggers out to create a suitable base for the round house.

The next phase of installation will include the erection of the upright stanchions that will support the roof and finally the roof will be added.  Fingers crossed by the next news story, at the end of May we will be able to show you pictures of a fully constructed round house.

Our stags are also beginning to naturally shed their antlers and we are finding and collecting them up from their grazing areas. This happens as their hormone levels drop and the antlers are no longer needed to impress the ladies! On that note we are also gearing up for calving season by getting the herds in the right enclosures so that they can settle in their surroundings before calving in June.

Venison News

We are also delighted to have a whole page dedicated to our venison and recipes in the Countryman Magazine this month. Keep your eyes peeled if you take this magazine.

We have lots of frozen venison in stock at the moment which can be delivered free within 20 miles of LN9 5PB!  Please click here to browse our range and place your order.

Our Venison Story

We wanted to share with you the journey the estate and we have been from the very beginning in the 1500’s to present day. We will include excerpts from this story over the coming months to share with you our history, how and when we introduced the deer to the estate and more about our low stress, sustainable rearing methods:

Stourton has an interesting history dating as far back to The Romans. However the first evidence of an estate at Stourton was the establishment of a large stately home in the mid 1500’s by Sir Edmund Dighton.  The estate was handed down through the generations and ownership passed into the Fynes-Clinton family who later became the Earls of Lincoln and Dukes of Newcastle. The house fell into disrepair and the estate was subsequently sold to The Livesey family around 1790.  Joseph Livesey began work on his new house (Stourton Hall) in 1810, a short distance from the ruins of the first. Subsequent generations invested heavily in the estate, building the walled garden, three inter connecting lakes, remodelling the parks (which would have been home to herds of fallow deer) as well as creating a model farm.

The estate is now owned by the Strawson family. Harry Strawson took on the tenancy of farm in 1926. When the last squire; Algernon Livesey died in 1951, the estate was broken up and Harry was able to purchase his farm at auction. The holding continued to grow under the management of his son Roger in later years.  The last major acquisition and final piece of the jigsaw was the purchase of the woodlands from The Forestry Commission in 1995.

Since then Antony (Roger’s son) has been working to restore the central part of the old estate. Works have included the dredging of the 3 lakes, active management of the woodlands, re-opening rides and creation of the arboretum.

It was in May 2012 that we re-introduced deer to the parks after an absence of nearly 100 years.  Whilst we felt it was important to retain the historical link for the estate, we also had the desire to produce high quality venison from deer living in fantastic surroundings.  Our 30 red deer hinds who leapt off the lorry into their parkland would be our first step towards this, and the infinite beauty and appeal of these creatures was not lost on us either!”


We really hope to see you very soon!

Antony & Helen

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