Croft's biomass boiler
Croft has been chosen to receive a district biomass heating system as part of the national Renewable Energy Investment Programme being undertaken by the National Trust. Once up and running, the biomass heating system will provide around 75 per cent of the property’s heating, saving 19,500 litres of oil per year as well as 52 tonnes of CO2. From this autumn, the boiler will be fed by some of the timber felled on Croft's own estate. Work is currently underway to install heating pipes so why not come along to see the work in progress.
Woodland pasture management
Croft's woodland landscape will be transforming this summer. Most of Croft's forest wood is leased to the Forestry Commission and this year they will be harvesting a lot of the timber as part of an ongoing woodland management project. Once this happens we will be working in partnership with the Forestry Commission to restore the woodland back to an historic woodland pasture which will improve biodiversity and revive many of the veteran trees found within the wood.
Back to school
Whilst planning continues for the woodland pasture management project, our rangers have been busy restoring other woodland areas within Croft's 1500 acre parkland. Felling and re-planting work has been carried out in school wood which is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site to improve the biodiversity for wildlife and turn it back into natural woodland. Trees planted are a mixture of Sessile Oak, Common Oak and Bird Cherry along with Rowan, Hazel, Maple and Lime trees.
Croft's woodland is a busy place this year with lots to see and do, so we've enlisted some help to improve the walks and old carriageways in Fishpool Valley. We'll be widening the tracks to allow more sunlight to the woody edge of paths to help native plants and wildlife to really flourish. We'll advise you when you visit of any areas which we're still working on and feel free to come along and see how we're getting on. It's also a great place to take the dog for a stroll.
Over the winter, we've been busy refreshing our volunteering experience inside the castle as part of a new National Trust project called Changing Rooms. You'll be able to visit the castle earlier and our volunteers will be bringing the place to life in so many new ways.
What's happening indoors?
Keeping the castle and its contents in good condition is vital work. There is always a busy conservation programme for you to get involved with throughout the year. Look out for them in action when you visit the castle and just ask if you'd like to join in; help is always welcome.
An exciting year ahead
- A new biomass boiler is due to be installed in the autumn of this year
- A woodland pasture management project will be happening from July this year
- We'll be sharing the story of life at Croft during WW1 from August this year. This will include the Croft family at war, horses at war and life at the home front for the local community
- We'll be opening the castle from 11am from 1 May and you can experience a totally new day out with our new Changing Rooms project
- We're looking after our wildlife by improving biodiversity and we've created a new bird hide to help us to support Croft's bird life
Restoring the glasshouse
Our gardener and his volunteer team have nearly finished restoring the 1914 glasshouse and it's adjacent buildings in the walled garden. The project has taken just over 12 months and all that's needed now is a fresh coat of paint. From August this year we'll be sharing the story of life in the garden during WW1 and you'll be able to see some original graffiti left behind by the gardeners who were here 100 years ago.
Restoring the garden
Thanks to a legacy left to Croft by one of it's life long supporters, we were able to install a new path network during 2013. The paths were built on the original foundations from the 1823 paths and take you around the whole 2.5 acre walled garden. The biomass boiler installation will disturb a small area of the path and some of the borders later this year so you'll see our garden team busy re-planting and replacing the path to keep the garden looking good for you to enjoy.