Spring is sprung at Felbrigg
The Beech burst its constricting buds to clothe itself in softest green, whilst Cherry blossom froths in bridal white. The shy Wood Sorrel hides its head among fresh green clover-like leaves along the woodland edge. The aptly named Townhall Clock looks out all around, stealing a march on the trees above, before mysteriously disappearing before the leafy canopy closes. The Lapwings swoop in ritual dance over the meadows, while Oystercatchers, smart in black and white, watch on. Woodpeckers drum loudly high up in the trees, declaring ‘Private Property! Keep out!’ A brilliant yellow Brimstone butterfly flies by, looking for a mate. The Hare, wet with morning dew, stops suddenly, and realising he is being watched, disappears as silently as he came.
The Weasel was seen casually pottering about the car park or ducking and diving in the walled garden.
The estate is managed to encourage old fashioned farm birds - Skylarks, Linnets, and Yellow Hammers.
Resident at Felbrigg are Greater Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, and they can regularly be heard drumming.
We have Tawny Owls in the Great wood and Barn and Little owls living contentedly in the parkland.
- Felbrigg has SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) conservation sites - Great Wood and some of the parkland.
- There is an ancient Beech which is the furthest north on acid soil and some rare fungi and lichens.
- Much of the dead wood is left for insects. 33 new species of insects not found before in Norfolk have been identified and 9 Red Book species.
- Resident in Felbrigg are currently four types of deer: Roe, Red, Munjac and Chinese water.
- A fungal midge, and the Slender or Lemon slug have been found in the Great Wood.
- A large part of the estate is in High Level Stewardship (HLS) with currently 240 hectares in our direct management.
- As part of the HLS, tenant farmers agree to maintain seed and nectar strips and reduced stocking levels of grazing animals.
- We use no fertilizer, insecticide or pesticides although a minimal amount of herbicide is used to control thistle and ragwort.
A tramp through the woods can put up the beautifully camouflaged Woodcock, exploding suddenly from the leaf litter or give a glimpse of Roe Deer, flashing their white rumps. A check on the bat boxes revealed, apart from the usual Brown Long-eared and Pipistrelles, a single Natterer’s. Daubenton’s Bats were busy hibernating or even mating in the depths of the Icehouse. ‘Colonies’ of Garden Snails wedged themselves in the nooks and crannies of gnarled Sycamores and a Shrew peered nervously out of a hole at the base of a Beech.
The realigning of Scarrow Beck
Historically Scarrow Beck was straightened quite early and with the changes in agricultural management in its catchment area, there has been a significant build up of silt going into the lake. The straightened Beck has not been able to flood into the surrounding pasture and deposit its silt before reaching the lake.
The realigning part of Scarrow Beck, was part of a Higher Level agricultural Scheme (HLS). The stream now no longer runs in a straight line but meanders across the pasture following some of the lower depressions, still visible in the ground, flowing into the small pond close to the footpath and then into the lake through the newly constructed weir which will allow the stream to behave in a much more natural manner. The weir allows control of the water levels in winter and spring and the field above the lake will now flood much further up in winter than previously. This should encourage wet loving species to spread, providing a greater diversity of plants and insects.
It is hoped to see wading birds, such as Snipe and Lapwing, return to nest on the pasture. This will also mean that much less silt should reach the lake. Already we have seen greater numbers of duck and geese using the water and a Bittern, (normally they just come for a look round) this year stayed for several months. We have seen Oyster Catchers prospecting and our grass management should mean that they will stay with us next yea