Apples in abundance at Pill Farm

The staff and volunteers at Pill Farm have been hard at work this week collecting over a tonne of apples from the orchards here. There were a few sore heads by the end as trees literally rained apples when their boughs were shook. We have a variety of traditional Cornish varieties here from eaters to cookers and even some cider apples too. Some of the apples have gone across to the restaurant at Trelissick to be used by the catering team and the rest have been sold to Helford Creek for juicing and cider. The birds and sheep have had a good time making the most of the remaining windfalls.

It’s been a good year for many fruiting crops including blackberries and haws, this has provided a feast for all our birds and other wildlife giving them a much needed store of energy to see them through the winter. The sweet chestnuts also seem to be having a bumper year and there are more than you can fill your pockets with on the ground at the moment, roasting them over an open fire is the best way to enjoy them but remember to prick them first!

Traditional orchards have unfortunately become an uncommon sight in the British countryside, once the focal point of every community, they have declined by 60% since the 1950′s. Orchards are not only important historically and culturally but support a vast range of native wildlife including the rare Noble Chafer Beetle and the Orchard Tooth Fungus which rely entirely on the dead wood in orchards. This has led to them being classified as a priority habitat under the UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) and there have been many projects running across the country to not only restore old orchards but plant new ones too.

With that in mind, the Ranger team here at Trelissick have dedicated a 3 acre plot at Tregew to plant a new community orchard. It will consist of Kea plums along with some local Cornish apple varieties. The creekside meadows at Tregew already support a host of wildlife including barn owls, sky larks and harvest mice. Traditionally areas like this along Cowlands, Coombe and Lamouth creek would have supported Kea plum orchards where their produce was shipped up to London and elsewhere so it seems an appropriate site for our new community orchard. We have received a generous sponsorship for our first 6 trees which will be planted in the coming  

     months, this sponsorship covers the cost of grafting a new tree, planting, construction of a tree guard and the future maintenance of the tree. Next week we are taking some of the chestnut from Trelissick to be milled ready to construct the guards to protect the young trees from grazing animals.

This seems like an appropriate time to introduce myself, Elle Parsons, as a new member of the countryside ranger team. I have worked for the National Trust ranger team on the Lizard for the past 6 years and will now be working alongside the rangers here at Trelissick. This winter I will be focusing on Tregew community orchard and developing an area of community woodland. Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved with either of these.

More updates to follow soon,

Elle

Contact me at Pill Farm: 01872 870863

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Besom broom making

Join us in Bodgers Copse this haloween as part of the Trelissick Haunted Fun event taking place on Thurs 30 & Fri 31 October.

Make your own besom, a tradtional broom made from hemlock brush bound together onto a stout handle. Primarily made for sweeping, although it has been known for witches to fly through the night sky on them at Haloween!

We will be running workshops every hour from 11am-3pm. Please come down to the copse to book your place on the day, spaces are limited. We are charging £2.50 per besom to cover our costs.

Besom broom

Besom broom

 

Posted in Trelissick

Burning Man

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Over the past few weeks Dave, with the help of other staff, friends and volunteers, has been constructing this year’s Burning Man. Lime poles were cut from the north woodland to provide a light-weight, wooden frame for the colossus. He … Continue reading

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Insect Life in Late Summer

This gallery contains 5 photos.

       

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Horses and History

Jimbo at RoundwoodThe ranger team with the help of Keith, Chloe and Jimbo the heavy horse carried out woodland management work on the Scheduled Ancient Monument at Roundwood. Jimbo was pulling out the last of the silver fir which was felled over the winter. This was planted in the early sixties, growing through an area of sessile oak which fringes Lamouth Creek on the side of the fort. The fir has been removed gradually over the last three years to help avoid shocking the old oak trees due to the changes in light and humidity levels.

Jimbo is used to extract the timber to avoid damage to the monument – he has very large feet but they travel lightly and don’t cut up the ground like tractor tyres. He is also very nimble allowing him to pull timber out on narrow twisting paths.

 

Rolled bracken 1

We also took the opportunity to roll the bracken on the fort using a bracken roller. Bracken rhizomes are very destructive to the archaeology and we roll it annually to retard its growth.

Bracken rolling 2

 

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Nature Notes – Spring 2014

The first swallow of Spring arrived at Pill Farm on 5th April, that’s ten days earlier than the first one seen last year.

While out early on Monday morning, looking over the coppiced wood a Nanphillows, I was lucky enough to hear a cuckoo, possibly over at Tregew, where there are lots of songbirds. That’s the first one I’ve heard on the estate for 3 years.Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), adult male in spring plumage on farm midden heap

Also at Tregew I saw a wheatear on the stubble fields. This is a striking little bird with very distinctive white rump feathers giving it the local Cornish name of Wittol meaning white tail.

 I heard a skylark singing for all its worth at Tregew, one of my favourite song birds with a truly stunning voice, Cornish name Melhuez.

 The Spring flowers are coming out in the woods- celandine, primrose, bluebell and wood anemone all bring colour back to the estate.

On sunny days lPrimrose & andrena beeook out for early bumblebees, small mining bees and peacock butterflies.

Herons are starting to nest on the riverside trees. They are very early nesters, but particularly prone to disturbance and choose the quietest areas of the estate, preferring to return to the same nest sites each year.Primrose & hairy footed flower bee

Look out for evidence of badgers along the driveway in the park where they turn the grass over looking for worms.

 A Roe deer was spotted at Pill Farm – they are only just moving onto the estate in the last few years as they spread across the county and are fairly regularly seen swimming the river, they like the quite farmland at Pill.

CelandineThe Oak trees starting to produce the new season’s leaves.

Neil, Head Ranger

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Food in the Wood Day

Come and join us on Saturday 3rd May 2014 for our wild food day, from 10.00 – 14.00.

After a walk through the woods at the Trelissick estate, foraging for seasonal wild plants, we’ll cook over an open fire and eat a delicious wild food lunch.

£10 per person – all ages welcome

Booking essential as numbers are restricted – tel: 01872 861030

 

Posted in Events, Trelissick