Wildlife at Oxburgh Hall
Oxburgh Hall provides a really valuable space for wildlife, within a surrounding landscape predominantly used for farming.
Home to at least seven species of bat, breeding barn owls and visiting otters; the surviving veteran trees are supporting scarce beetles and the Washpit with its wildflowers is proving popular with butterflies. What will you discover on your next visit?
When you visit, you’ll likely see a pair of swans gliding along the moat. Swans have been a regular feature at Oxburgh over the centuries; we know from historical records that the Bedingfeld family had swan pens on the estate.
Historically, owning swans signaled nobility, as only those wealthy enough to own an official ‘swan mark’ from the Crown could keep them.
Their high status is likely to have come about because of their perceived beauty and behavior; they are graceful and elegant on the water, as well as strong and aggressively protective of their young. Swans tend to mate for life and we hope our current resident pair will have cygnets in the not to distant future.
Bats working the night shift
The Hall and Chapel are known to support the bat roosts of at least three species, and thanks to a bat recorder capturing sonic soundwaves, we also know that the surrounding gardens and estate provide valuable feeding habitats for at least seven bats species, including the rare Barbastelle. Insects emerging from the moat are a particularly great food source for bats, including the Common Pipistrelle, which roost in the garden wall and turrets.
There are a number of old veteran trees in the Oak Yard, close to the Chapel. These trees support a notable community of wood-decay invertebrates, including several nationally and regionally rare and scarce beetles. Did you know that Oxburgh is now recognised as one of the top sites for saproxylic beetles in Norfolk? It’s the moist, decaying wood that attracts them to set up home here.
Roe deer and brown hares
An early morning walk around Home Covert or a stroll when it’s quiet towards the end of the day; may reward you with sightings of roe deer and brown hares. The abundant cover and vegetation here clearly provides a good foraging habitat for both these species.
The flower-rich borders and orchard are home to a wide variety of wild bees and wasps; including the rare 5-banded weevil wasp, which as its name suggests, is a predator of weevils. The Brecks is a known stronghold for this species, which digs its nest burrows in hard open ground.