red deer at Stourton Estates

May 2019 at Stourton

Open Day & Wolds Walking Festival – A Huge Thank You!

We would like to thank everyone who came along to the ‘Stourton Leg’ of the Wolds Walking Festival on Sunday 19th May. The weather was kind to us and it was lovely to see so many people exploring the estate on our two guided walks and especially so many families.  The rock ramble was a great success and kept many little legs entertained hunting for rocks around the arboretum.  We managed to raise just over £200 for the Wolds Walking Festival which was fantastic. If you came along and have any photos of the day we’d love you to share them with us on either Facebook or Instagram.

deer safari at Wold Walking Festival 2019As part of the festival we also held the first deer safaris of the year.  The deer looked magnificent and took every opportunity to show off to their visitors, who loved seeing them in their parkland surroundings. It was the first time some of our younger deer have been surveyed by passers-by, but although traditionally nervy, our youngsters took it in their stride.

Safari tent at Stourton EstatesWe served refreshments from our converted horse-box next to our newly sited Safari Tent where walkers rested their legs after walking.  This has wonderful views down to the lakes and across the parklands and is in a much more sheltered position.  We will use the tent as an ‘outdoor class room’ for school trips, group visits and on open days as a meeting point and ‘refreshment spot’.  It is also available for private hire, so if you wish to host a gathering or woodland wedding please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We are holding a number of events this year, so if you missed out on this opportunity to explore the estate please take a look at our events page.  We’d love to see you soon!

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

We are so lucky to work and live where we do and we work very hard across all areas of the estate and our business to ensure that our environmental impact is as low as possible. We do this in a number of ways.

We manage our woodlands carefully and when we do have to fell trees on the estate we put aside the larger ones and convert them into logs with the smaller brash being chipped to produce woodchip.  The chip is sometimes used on the estate, or sold to keen gardeners / landscapers and any waste is used to fire our own kiln boiler in which we dry our logs.  We also have a continual tree planting programme to replace lost / fallen trees which provide shelter for the deer as well as encouraging wildlife and creating a rich and diverse bio-culture here.

We try to ensure that, as far as possible we and our partners use only compostable or biodegradable carrier bags, napkins, cups, beakers or kitchen ware at our events.

The deer are even roped in!  We collect up the deer manure which we sometimes turn into compost or more often spread onto the farmland as a brilliant natural fertiliser, reducing our reliance on chemicals.

If you are visiting the estate we kindly ask that you help us in our efforts by taking any rubbish away with you or that it is put in any of the carefully labelled litter bins provided so that it can be re-cycled appropriately. Thank you in advance for your co-operation!

Pop-Up Pub Night – Saturday 1st June – last few tickets available to book now!

We still have a few tickets left for our Pop –Up Pub night at the Water Tower.  Your ticket not only gains entry but also entitles you to a complimentary arrival drink as well as your quiz sheet so hurry – these are selling fast so please don’t miss out on what will be a great night in a truly unique location.

Family Camping Weekend: 14th-16th June 2019 – book your pitch now!

Calling all campers! The family camping weekend is fast approaching. Don’t miss out on this great, fun filled, family focussed weekend. To find out more about what we have in store for you and to buy tickets please click here.


Welcome to a brand new team member!

We would like to congratulate our Farm Manager Oli and his lovely wife Chloe on the safe arrival of baby number three. Orla swells the Smith Family ranks to 5 and joins her two older brothers in keeping Mum and Dad on their toes for years to come. Congratulations!

On the Farm

Well… it is still rather dry but we have at least had a useful amount of rain to keep crops going for the time being. All drilling is now complete with our wild bird seed and nectar flower mixes having been sown last week; there was a decent amount of soil moisture so hopefully they will establish well for the coming year.

Sugar beet is now up and growing strongly, with the recent rains there has been an enormous flush of weed growth which we are currently contending with!  A pass with a laser guided steerage hoe is planned imminently, the main aim for us is to deal with a very high level of ‘weedy beet’ (beet plants which have grown from seed shed in previous years) in some of our fields, as well as reducing the overall weed burden. This will be followed up by a rogueing gang to pull out any remaining plants to stop them shading and competing for nutrients with our sugar beet plants. The final application of nitrogen fertiliser is currently being applied to the sugar beet. Anyone who wishes to read about growing sugar beet (in a great amount of detail!) can find the information here.

Elsewhere on the farm oilseed rape crops are coming out of flower and setting pods nicely, in the wheat crops anything that isn’t wheat is now rearing its ugly head above the crop. We have a smattering of volunteer barley in the wheat following barley as well as a small amount of blackgrass in a couple of places as well. The wheat is due the next fungicide anytime, this is applied to protect the crops’ ‘flag leaf’.  This leaf is at the top of the plant and is the last to emerge before the ear (seed head) and contributes up to 50% of the yield building potential in the crop; hence the need to protect it from disease. Spring barley has just had its first fungicide and trace element mix, as well as a herbicide in places to tidy up a bit of weed growth. Useful growth guides for our combinable crops can be found here.

Over the next month or so as we see the crops through their final phases of rapid growth and into grain fill, we will start looking towards harvest. Grain stores will be emptied and thoroughly cleaned. Harvesting and cultivation equipment will be checked over. This year we will be taking our trailers to go through a HGV style MOT test to make sure they are in good order to be out on the public highway. This will be amongst the first of a number of changes we intend to make this year in order to ensure we are operating as safely as we can.

Let’s hope that this continued dry weather won’t mean it’s tipping it down at the Lincolnshire show next month!!

Deer Diary

red deer at Stourton EstatesAs we mentioned above the deer are now firmly established in their parkland setting for the duration of the summer and hopefully a few Autumn months.  The youngsters, despite being a little reticent about leaving the safety and security of their crew yard winter abode, have taken to park life very well and are enjoying life in the sunshine and in their new swimming pond.

We are patiently awaiting the birth of our first calf of the season – any day now!!

We have a number of opportunities across the year to see our deer in their natural surroundings on one of our Deer Safaris.   You can book your safaris here for 26th May as part of the Walled Garden Baumber’s Charity Garden Fete and Fun Dog show

We will also be running deer safaris throughout the weekend 14th-16th June as part of the Family Camping weekend – another reason to get your pitch booked now!

We can now say that ‘Open Season’ is officially underway and we look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to our events.  We enjoy sharing the estate we love and live on with you.


Helen and Antony

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