The perfect time for some Spring clearing!

View of the path in the Albana Woods at Ickworth

Spring provides the Ranger team with a busy ‘to do’ list as we repair, replace and conserve the acres of parkland at Ickworth. We’ve also spotted some wildlife across the estate from slow worms to badgers!

There are over 100 gates dotted around Ickworth, and every year we will replace a few of these. Last month, some of our volunteers spent a day repairing a rather dilapidated pedestrian gateway that leads out of Fontainebleau Grove and into the parkland. They replaced the rotten gateposts with new oak posts milled from timber from the estate, put up new rails both sides and hung a new oak gate that should last for a good few years!

Ranger volunteers with their new and improved gate
Ranger volunteers with gate Ickworth

As part of our woodland management we will also thin out hardwoods (for example Oak and Ash) from different areas, opening up the woodland and letting more light onto the floor which allows the remaining trees to thrive. This is then left to season in length, before being processed into firewood which is sold and funds more of our conservation work.  

In the past this would have been done with a chainsaw and an axe, whereas now we can use a firewood processor which speeds the whole job up!  Once the wood is loaded onto the deck it is fed through and cut to a specified length, before being split and put on a conveyor belt that loads it into a bag. These bags are then left to season further before they can be loaded onto the pickup and delivered around Bury St Edmunds later in the year. We will process 60 of these bags to sell offsite, and another 50 which will run the log burner at Porter's Lodge.

Firewood bagged up and ready to use
Firewood in bags Ickworth

Ickworth is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and recently we have seen lots of different types enjoying the Spring weather! Our bird boxes have been occupied by Blue Tits, who have made nests and laid eggs.

Blue Tit eggs nesting in our bird boxes
Blue tit nesting boxes

We also lay out metal corrugated sheets which provide a warm microclimate for toads, small mammals and also Slow Worms, which were found by our Wildlife Group.

Our Gardener, Richard filmed overnight footage of Badgers close to our Walled Garden. We haven’t tracked how many sets of Badgers we house at Ickworth but the population is dotted all over the estate and capturing them in film is an intriguing sight!

Ickworth badger caught on camera
badger caught on camera Ickworth

Remember to check in next month as we prepare for more milling for the Wood Fair and repair the boardwalks down at the Fairy Lake!