Summertime and the living is easy...
It's late spring/early summer and the lambs gambol on the parkland, while South Devon cattle graze peacefully among the trees. Buttercups stud the grass with shining yellow, attracting the drowsy bumblebees. Swallows swoop and twitter over the pasture and a Cuckoo calls in the distance. Speckled Wood butterflies flit along the woodland rides and delicate blue damselflies settle on the foliage. Sheep’s Sorrel paints the park red and far above a Skylark sings joyously, a tiny speck in the ether. As dusk settles, Noctule bats head out for a night’s foraging and the silent Barn Owl searches for the slightest sound in the grass, where a Bank Vole is busy, unaware of possible danger.
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.
We have Tawny owls in the Great Wood and Barn and Little owls living contentedly in the parkland.
We have Greater Spotted and Green Woodpeckers and they can regularly be heard.
- Felbrigg has SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) conservation sites - Great Wood and some of the parkland.
- There are ancient Beech which are reputedly the furthest north on acid soil. Also 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 nine Red Data Book species.
- Resident in Felbrigg are currently four types of deer: Roe, Red, Muntjac 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.
Eight species of bat have been recorded here, including widespread species typical of woodland such as Natterer’s bat as well as the rare Barbestelle. The lake at Felbrigg is a good place to head for at dusk to see bat activity - Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats commonly feed over the water here, whilst larger species such as Noctule and Serotine can be seen hunting over the park. Whilst the old hollow trees provide excellent natural roost sites for bats, we also give them a helping hand in the form of over 100 bat boxes around the estate. Annual surveys show these are well used with an occupancy rate of over 30% (and up to 20 bats in a box!). That said, our Ice house is where many choose to hibernate.
With the work to realign Scarrow Beck complete we hope 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 in the coming years.. Learn more about the realigning of Scarrow Beck.