May 2021 at Stourton

We are delighted to be able to announce that we are opening our gates again this summer and can welcome you back safely to enjoy the estate. As well as Beyond the Woods festival in August on you can visit us on the following dates:

Open Day – Sunday 4th July

On Sunday 4th July you can come and enjoy some of our trails around the usually private parkland, go on a deer safari to see our growing herd of deer calves and generally take in the views!

Refreshments will be on offer and you are more than welcome to bring your own picnics to enjoy in the arboretum.

We will charge £3 for the car park and you are free to stay for as long as you want, bookings can be made online or we will take payment on the gate.  Well behaved dogs on leads (with well behaved owners, armed with poo bags) are more than welcome to come along too.

If you want to enjoy a deer safari then you must pre-book as we will be unable to take payment on the day.  To pre-book your spot on a deer safari please just click here.

Camping Weekend 16th – 18th July

Come and stay for the weekend with your tent, caravan or motorhome.  Bring your friends and family and get together in the great outdoors!

Tents and caravans are welcome in the

grassy glade of the arboretum and there is plenty of hard standing in the woodland parking area too.

You are welcome to pitch up from 4pm-7pm on Friday afternoon until Sunday at 4pm and have full access to enjoy the estate for the weekend.

We will be running deer safaris throughout the weekend, tickets for these need to be booked in advance online here.

There will be a communal fire-pit available for your use, and there are areas designated for bbq’s should you wish to.

Limited refreshments will be available on site over the weekend.

If you would like to enjoy some live music on Saturday night, there is ‘An evening with THE TAILFINS’ starting at 7pm at the Walled Garden Baumber, a short walk away.  Tickets for this are £10 per person and available in advance by emailing walledgardenbaumber@gmail.com

The Walled Garden Baumber Tearoom will also be open on Sunday from 10am – 4pm.

To book a pitch for our camping weekend simply click here.

Getting Event Ready – a huge ‘Thank you’ to our team!

When you work for a small business you always expect an element of variety in your role and that’s certainly true here at Stourton! However the flexibility that the whole team have shown this month has been truly remarkable and very much appreciated.

Preparing to reopen a venue that has effectively been mothballed for 18 months has taken an enormous amount of hard work by everyone. From Julie and Clare cleaning the Safari tent windows to Guy treating and painting the entire floor (twice!) Helen raking up numerous fallen leaves, sprucing up borders and together with Clare varnishing all the Safari tent tables it has been all hands on deck! Additional help from Helen’s parents has also been invaluable: assembling shelving units and attaching essential fixtures and fittings to the new toilets.

Ken and Dan have found new digger skills extending and levelling the parking area and Antony has moved around 1000 tons of rubble to create the roundhouse footings and spread 2 acres of grass seed around it by hand! With all these extra jobs Jamie has helped at the weekend by bagging up woodchip for customer deliveries for the following week.

There has been plenty more going on but hopefully the next time you visit you will see the improvements and changes for yourself – in the meantime a big THANK-YOU to the extended team working at Stourton for their effort’s this month.

Venison

Venison BurgerAlthough the weather probably has other plans it would be great to be able to get the BBQ out soon! We have some great venison in stock for you to enjoy.

Why not try our delicious, gluten free venison sausages, burgers or steaks on your bbq?

We also have a range of joints, mince and braising/stewing steak in stock too.

Delivery is FREE within a 20 mile radius of LN9 5PB.

To view our full venison range, click here.

On the Estate

May has seen us very busy with the installation of the roundhouse, our new outdoor handling and winter quarters for the deer herd. Once ground works were complete we were able to take delivery of the roundhouse.  The first step was to put the stanchions in place.  From this we could then construct the roof trusses.  Once the centre pole was in place the roof fabric could be stretched across the structure.  The roof is made from high density UPVC canvas  and is not only incredibly durable but fully recyclable. Once the main construction is complete the build team will put the handling pens in place later this year.  These are very versatile and easy to install or remove depending on our desired use for the enclosure….. outdoor dining area anyone? We hope that you can catch a glimpse of the new roundhouse on a deer safari at one of our events!

Our Carbon Footprint

Being members of Select Lincolnshire, we recently attended a webinar organised by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce which was a fascinating insight into the rise of sustainable packaging and trends in this area.  However, the wider issue of our Carbon footprint was also touched upon.  As a business we have always been very conscious of minimising our impact on the environment and being as environmentally conscious as possible – working with nature not against it.  There are many ways in which we do this being part of the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme which includes a range of measures including leaving wide field margins to encourage wild-life and habitats to only applying the essential amounts of fertiliser and chemicals where the crops need it most.  We have also installed renewable power sources such as solar panels, we source timber from our own another Lincolnshire Woodlands to produce logs and woodchip, we plant trees across the estate and in producing venison we are providing one of the most sustainable meats available. In terms of packaging we have also been very careful to select cardboard boxes, paper insulation and also recyclable boxes wherever possible to deliver our meat to customers safely, hygienically and efficiently.  For our venue we go to great lengths to source compostable or re-cyclable cups to minimise our carbon footprint.  The mantra: Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle is one that we work to.  It is not always possible to eliminate plastic entirely, for example our ice packs are plastic, however these can be re-used by our customers for their own picnics over

the summer months and the concept of reducing waste whilst being sustainable and carefully considering the life-span of a product is a delicate balancing act.

Whilst we are only a small business we are keen to calculate our carbon footprint and actively take steps to reduce it, our starting point will be working with Carbon Footprint Ltd (individuals also have access to a free online carbon footprint calculator on this website too).  This is a piece of work that is likely to take some time, however if in our small way we can reduce our impact on the environment and help drive down carbon emissions, it will be for the good of future generations.

Deer Diary

May has seen the arrival of Dotty into our lives.  Keen followers on our social media channels will already be aware of her… Dotty, one of the first calves to be born this year was abandoned by her mother.  In our experience and in the deer world this is incredibly rare and Dotty is the first calf that we have so far had to hand rear. She has taken up residence on our patio and is already a much loved and quite spoilt family member.

The first couple of weeks involved four-hourly bottle feeds, both day and night as well as lots of exercise and gambolling around the garden to start to make use of her gangly legs and to build muscle strength. We now don’t have to feed her through the night but she still requires regular milk feeds from us until July/August by which time we will be weaning her onto grazing and hay. In an ideal world we will slowly reintroduce Dotty back into the herd.  Being one of the first born and having such a controlled feeding regime should ensure that she is one of the biggest among the calves when the time comes to join them. We shall keep you posted on her progress!

As well as Dotty, we have started seeing many new calves around the grassland.  As we have mentioned in previous years, the hinds tend to enjoy quite stress-free births which we do not have to get involved in. They usually give birth in an inhospitable patch of nettles which provides some shelter for the new born until it gets on its feet and can run with the herd. If you come along to one of our summer events you will see the new calves with their mothers on one of the deer safaris.

On the Farm

Well, apart from a fair bit of spraying to do we are largely caught up on the farm. The final applications of nitrogen fertiliser have now been made to both our winter and spring crops. The most recent were a ‘top-up’ for the winter wheat and the sugar beet, thanks to Ken and Dan for their hard work to get this done between the wind and the showers.

Having had quite a bit of rain now and with temperatures creeping up crops have really turned themselves around and are now racing through the growth stages. We will now be monitoring crops for disease levels as well as looking to control weeds as the season moves forwards. For anyone who would like to learn a bit more about the disease challenges we encounter on our cereal crops through the growing season the Agriculture and Horticulture development board (AHDB) have a useful guide here.

Now we are caught up on most other jobs Ken is loading grain lorries and carrying out maintenance to our machinery. This is likely to keep him busy up until harvest, although he will be taking some much deserved time off as well.

As thoughts move towards harvest we look to make the last of our grain sales to clear the decks for the sheds to be fully cleaned and treated prior to being refilled with the produce of 2021. We are also currently interviewing for our ‘harvest student’ position; someone to join our team from July through to September to assist operations during the busy harvest period. We have been very lucky with our harvest staff for the past few years but as an industry we now seem to be a little short of people who are keen to do these jobs. While the hours can be long, and sometimes antisocial, it can be incredibly rewarding. For me grain harvest is a very exciting time; the culmination of the past 12 months efforts, working as part of a team in a ‘race’ to beat the weather and harvest the crops at their optimum quality.

Hopefully we all get some warmer temperatures and some sun some-time soon, I’m keen to get the barbecue out!

 

We can finally say that we really look forward to seeing you here soon!

 

Antony and Helen

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