November 2019 at Stourton
There’s never a dull moment at Stourton Estates! As ever, November has been an eventful month; some good and some not so good, but let’s start with the good!
Enchanted Lit Woodland Walk – THANK YOU!
We were overwhelmed with the popularity of our Enchanted Woodland Walk event. Based on last year’s demand we had extended this event to run over two nights instead of one and we still managed to sell out! We would like to thank everyone who came along to this event and we hope you had a great evening. We’d also like to thank everyone who has taken the time to post on social media about the event and those who have shared some stunning photos of the evening with us.
Visitors could take in a walk around the arboretum which was beautifully lit with coloured lights and atmospheric sound effects. This year we added a water fountain to the spectacle as well as LED and fire dancing performances by Party Workshops which certainly wowed the crowd.
We’d also like to thank those who came along to feed the masses! Farriers Rest provided some delicious toasties, Fleurs Kitchen provided crepes which were simply to die for and Curry Jacks sold some divine curries on Saturday night which certainly helped to keep everyone warm. Jumbo marshmallows were also available for visitors to toast around the specially protected fires. Our extended Stourton Estates team worked really hard making sure that the event ran smoothly.
We’d like to say the most massive thank you to Dave who provided the lighting magic. He transformed the (already pretty beautiful) arboretum into a magical wonderland. He worked so hard, especially as the rain decided to put in an appearance on Saturday morning so a full dry out, safety check and test was required before admitting our Saturday guests.
We are already planning next year’s event to make it even bigger and better – we can’t wait!
Christmas Open Day: Saturday 7th December 10am – 4pm
We would like to welcome you to our Christmas Open Day held, for the first time, in the woodland setting of the arboretum. There’s a lot to see and do plus there’s plenty of seasonal fayre to enjoy in the warmth of the Safari Tent!
This magical venue will really start to get you in the spirit of Christmas. You might like to enjoy a winter walk around the arboretum and see the red deer in the parkland from the Old Hall Lawn. Alternatively you can book onto a Christmas Deer Safari, these will be running every hour on the old army truck travelling over slightly soggy ground and through the woodland to see the resident majestic stags together with the hinds and calves around the estate.
The team in the Safari Tent will be delighted to welcome you – admire the natural decorations and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere and warm up around the roaring log burner. Along with the estates very own venison, real Christmas Trees are also available to purchase. There are also a small selection of local businesses showcasing their Christmas products and giftware:
Sew Crazy homemade fabric and felt gifts and decorations
The Crafty Den Christmas gifts and hampers
Little Flower Workshop handmade wooden items for the home
Lily Rose Cakes and Catering tasty luxury brownies, fudge, Christmas gingerbread, mince pies, flapjack and other treats
Sassy Spirit lovely accessories, scarves, jewellery and bags
Cath’s Blossoms and Blooms with Christmas wreaths and table decorations with an added decoration service on the day whilst visitors have a look around.
Have a bite to eat with home-made (mild) venison chilli on offer or a vegetable soup or treat yourself to a mulled wine or baileys hot chocolate with a mince-pie or two in this special setting.
Avoid the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Stourton Woods.
It is FREE entry to the grounds and we will be open from 10am until 4pm on Saturday 7th December and the team will be delighted to see you – the entrance is off the A158 between Baumber & Wragby signed Stourton Estates & Walled Garden Baumber.
Click and Collect your Real Christmas Trees!
Not only are these beautiful Christmas trees but they hold onto their needles for longer too so they will continue to look beautiful throughout the festive season. The trees have been thoroughly looked after throughout their growing life, being pruned and pampered so they have a lovely conical shape.
The trees are freshly cut and in stock from Saturday 30th November. You can order your tree online and then collect your tree from the farm office off the Caistor High Street B1225 LN9 5PB (look out for the venison sign) from:
- Saturday 30th November 10am – 1pm
- Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm, & normally later too!We would be delighted to welcome you on Saturday 7th December Christmas Open Day from 10am – 4pm in the Arboretum (Stourton Woods) to collect your tree. We have a specially trained Tree Elf ready to help you carry your tree to your car.
If none of the above are suitable please phone 01507 578236 and we can arrange a time for you to collect your tree. If you would like to reserve a tree and pick it up at a time to suit you please pay online and we will put one aside for you.
Unfortunately the weather has changed little since the last blog post. We managed a little more drilling during a short drier period and have now sown around 30% of our winter wheat crop on our own and on our customers’ farms. Due to the ongoing wet weather, soils are now incredibly cold resulting in crops being very slow to emerge (4-6 weeks). Some are now emerging though in any particularly wet areas the seed has ‘blown’ and rotted in the ground. Truly unprecedented times but we must make light where we can;
We’ve ‘ad a fair kelchin’ again
We’re arrad o’ all this rain
Our wheat’s all in skwad
But it can’t be that bad,
That we do nowt but complain.
Until next time…
The Downside of Life on the Estate
From time to time we have to deal with some minor catastrophes on the estate and the week following our Enchanted Walk delivered a few at once.
The relentless rain that has blessed us for a few weeks now caused some flooding to our farm and parkland. As any farmer knows, this isn’t just a minor inconvenience for a couple of weeks but drastically delays seed drilling and/or plant development; and in the worse cases damage to buildings and loss of livestock. As flooding counts as a natural event then very rarely are such things covered by any type of insurance which can dramatically impact incomes and livelihoods.
Naturally occurring events are something that you need to accept will happen from time to time. More annoying is when the issue you have to deal with is man-made and utterly avoidable. Rural crime is on the rise, and has been widely reported recently in the news. Most people who live in the local villages and hamlets know someone who has been affected. We’ve had a double whammy! Not only did we have off-roaders drive all over our forage crops causing a great deal of damage but we also fell victim to arsonists.
Our bale castle, built at the end of summer to create some interest off the roadside and to help us to promote our events and products, was torched on Sunday 10th November. In reality when we began talking about the possibility of building a bale castle, it being burned down was sadly something that we were worried about. We took the calculated risk to build the castle which has delighted our estate visitors and passersby alike and has provided a very handy billboard to promote our events. We positioned the castle in such a way that if a fire were to occur it was far enough from the woodland or hedgerow to prevent the fire spreading out of control. The castle was actually in position much longer than we anticipated as the wet weather prevented us from being able to easily dismantle it without damaging the farmland on which it stood.
Sadly, on the Sunday afternoon, in broad daylight (!) the castle fell prey to arsonists. Initially two fire engines attended the scene, quickly leaving one to help manage the blaze and ensure the main road remained open and safe for vehicles. Once under control the Stourton Team worked through the night and into the next day to ensure that the fire didn’t flare back up and that the site and road were safe. Whilst the bales were completely lost, which were going to be used for winter bedding for the deer the only blessing is that thankfully no-one was hurt.
We would like to thank all personnel from Lincs Fire and Rescue who attended the fire and also to extend our apologies to any neighbours and road users who were inconvenienced by the fire. We’ll have to have a think about what we do next year – watch this space!
Anyway, onwards and upwards and at least there’s no sign of a plague of locusts…yet!
We are now coming to the end of the deer rut season and the stags are calming down a little hopefully having done their important business! They are not too bothered by the wet ground conditions and are loving chomping through the silage which they are fed daily – here they are eating in a lovely curve across the field.
Soon it will be time to wean the calves born this June from the hinds and bring them into the shelter of the barn for the winter. Here they will be a little more sheltered from the elements through the coldest winter months and will hopefully remain healthy whilst they put on a little more weight before the new grass arrives in the spring.
You may have seen that we have increased the opportunity for you to buy venison locally. We are very pleased to supply a couple of local restaurants – Shakesbys in Horncastle and The Blacksmith’s Arms in Skendleby so if you’d like to enjoy a meal out we can heartily recommend trying our amazing venison that has been professionally cooked!
If you live closer to Lincoln, we also supply Fosters Butchers in Lincoln with meat on a regular basis and so you can try some steaks with your normal weekly meat order from them.
In a couple of more rural villages we now supply venison to The Post & Pantry in Donington on Bain which has a Christmas food event on Sunday 1st December if you’re able to support that they would be delighted to see you. Also Tealby Village Shop has recently taken a small delivery of frozen venison for their customers to sample and it has been flying off the shelves! They are also holding small Xmas fair in Tealby Village Hall on Sat 14th Dec so do go along to that if you get the chance.
If you’re looking for a particular cut or are catering for a crowd we also have a full range of venison in stock frozen at the farm. From burgers to steaks, joints, mince and casserole we can offer you most cuts and provide advice on recipes and the best way of cooking this healthy and delicious meet.
We’re open at Top Yard Farm, LN9 5PB Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm, Saturday 30th November 10am – 1pm and then will have a selection available at our Open Day in the arboretum on Saturday 7th December from 10am – 4pm. If you’d like a particular cut or size please phone us and reserve in advance so that we can meet your needs!
Special Stourton Experiences – a Great Gift Idea for Christmas
With Christmas approaching we are also offering a limited number of experiences. You might like to experience the thrill of driving our ex-army truck (unimog) or feeding the red deer on a private tour. Our experiences make great gifts for someone special, a special treat for yourself… or perhaps a difficult to buy for relative?!
Our experience vouchers can be bought online and are valid throughout 2020. Terms and conditions apply, see individual products on our website for full details.
Give experiences not things, have stories to tell, not stuff to show!
We hope to see you soon, hopefully at our Christmas Event or if you come to collect a Christmas Tree or venison in the run up to Christmas.
Helen and Antony