January 2020 at Stourton

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020 at Stourton Estates.

We hope you have had a restful festive period and are all fired up for whatever 2020 has to offer.

Since we last wrote the estate has very much been in winter mode.  We are spending our time carrying out essential maintenance across the estate and have been very busy planning our events for the year, especially how we are going to celebrate 25 Years of our ownership of Stourton Woods!

With that in mind we are delighted to be able to share with you our events calendar for 2020 so make sure you save the dates! More detailed information will follow for each event on our website as it becomes available.  Don’t want to miss out? Then please sign up to our newsletter. You can do this at the bottom of any of the pages on our website.

Sunday 17th May Get Active Outdoors Open Day & launching our events for 2020

  • Launching our events for 2020, get moving with walks, activities and plenty to take part in across the estate for all ages

13th & 14th June Bears in the Woods Open Weekend

  • Bring your own bear and get involved with bear themed activities over the weekend, children’s Party Packages also available
  • Wild Camping available

18th July   Charity Pub Night at the Water Tower* to raise funds for St. Swithin’s Church, Baumber roof appeal

  • Just outside Baumber village, with great views and local ales on tap

25th & 26th July Celebrate 25 Years at Stourton Woods Open Weekend

  • Let off steam with the children and start the school holidays in style with walks, activities and deer safaris in the great outdoors
  • Wild Camping available

7th, 8th, 9th August Beyond the Woods Music festival – includes camping

Saturday 12th September Autumn Festival

  • Live music all day and evening, demonstrations, activities, stalls, wide range of food and drinks, fun for everyone – not to be missed!
  • Wild Camping available

24th & 25th October Pumpkin Themed Open Weekend

  • Find the pumpkins, deer rut safaris, craft activities celebrating the changing autumn colours in the arboretum

Friday 6th & Saturday 7th Evenings – November Enchanted Woodland Lights

  • Magical coloured lighting brings the arboretum to life with a walking trail, fire dancers and atmospheric soft music, local food vendors and on-site bar

Saturday 5th December – Christmas at Stourton

  • Festive season fun in the arboretum and safari tent with Christmas trees, selection of stalls, deer safaris and light refreshments around the log burner.

All events* except Water Tower being held in the arboretum at Stourton Woods, Baumber LN9 5NL off A158

Would you like to join the team as a Volunteer?

We are so delighted that our events have become more popular and visitor numbers are increasing and with the small team here at Stourton we are about at our limit.  With this in mind we have a number of roles that might be of interest to you to gain some experience, work with the team here and we can offer some attractive benefits!

We are a friendly team and we aim for every visitor to enjoy the Stourton experience so if you’d like to get involved and stuck in we would love to hear from you!

Please drop us an email with what particular area interests you and we will get in touch.

On the Farm

As we go to ‘print’, we finally seem to be moving into a period of more settled weather. This has allowed us to tentatively start on a little more land work. Ken was over the moon to be back on his beloved Challenger while ploughing ahead of vining peas and spring barley on a customer’s farm!

Hopefully within the next few days we will start drilling a little more winter wheat, as mentioned in previous blogs we can drill certain varieties up until the end of February.   In other news we are currently assessing which fields of oilseed rape are viable to carry through until harvest.   Those which aren’t will be sown with spring varieties of oilseed rape; in the past this hasn’t been the most reliable of crops, let’s hope this year proves differently! The winter oilseed rape crops which are viable will need treating to remove any grass species, as well as a number of broadleaved weeds.

In the workshop at the moment we are going through our precision drill to make sure it is fighting fit for drilling sugar beet when the time arrives. A precision drill places individual seeds at set distances apart within the row. For example our drill rows are set at 50cm apart, seeds are sown around 17.5cm apart within each row. This gives us optimum plant population to achieve the highest yields of the most uniform sugar beet roots.

Heading into spring our crops will start to respond to the increasing day length and begin to grow. We will be monitoring this and feeding the crops appropriately. Their first dose of nitrogen fertiliser may need to be a little earlier than usual as the unprecedented rainfall will have depleted field reserves. Oilseed rape will be first, shortly followed by winter barley and wheat.

We are very much looking forward to a busy few months trying our best to catch up for lost time out on the land in the Autumn; let’s hope mother nature plays ball a little more in 2020!

Deer Diary

Whilst work on the farm is traditionally quieter at this time of year the work with the deer of course continues.  We are currently giving them copper boluses which are essential nutrients to keep them healthy.  They are also being wormed at the same time – as you can imagine tending individually to some 300 deer is no mean feat, ‘keep calm and carry on’ is a very useful phrase that Antony and Dan have been repeating on a daily basis recently!

With the rut completing before Christmas and the stags calming down, we are hoping to look forward to hearing the patter of little hooves in the spring-time and we will be sure that you will be the first to know…

 

There is so much to look forward to on the estate and in the woods for 2020 and we hope to see you in the Spring at one of our events.

Antony and Helen

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