Friday, 10 August 2012

Batting at Chastleton

Last week we had a new event at Chastleton - Batting! David Endecott from the Oxfordshire Bat Association very kindly came in to give a talk about the different species and work by the Association. It was very popular - we sold out with 24 people for the talk and walk! We were able to see captive serotine and pipistrelle bats that the Bat Association had rescued or are rearing for release when they are old enough.

A baby Pipistrelle being fed milk.

A Serotine bat being fed a mealworm

Then we went on a 40 minute walk around the property, using bat detectors to see and hear these bats in the wild. There are six different species of bat living on the property, and we saw two of them! 

Looking for bats in the Stableyard.

The nursery boxes for the baby bats.

By all accounts, a great success! We'll definitely run this one again next year!

All pictures (C) Sebastian Conway.

Friday, 3 August 2012

West Garden conservation project beginning in July 2012

Chastleton West Garden Project 2012.
In line with our Garden Conservation Management Plan we have started the West Garden conservation project this month. The West Garden was one of the most neglected and 'lost' areas of the garden when I arrived to be gardener at the property about 2 years ago. The project had been through phase one earlier in the year when we moved the modern herb garden from The West Garden to The Kitchen Garden.
This month, with the help of the excellent work of Kenny and Keith from the direct labour team at Coleshill,  we have been removing the top soil and turf, putting down water permeable liner to stop weeds and a hardcore base topped with pea gravel, building 3 new cold frames, putting up a fence at the bottom of the cottage gardens and repairing the 1800's cobble path. This will create better cohesion and purpose to the area. It will be more of a working area for the garden - which is in line with its historical past. It also gives echoes of the past with the Richardson's cobbled path, Yew hedges and frame yard, while maintaining its modern cottage garden layout purpose too. We hope to have space for engagement activities such as potting on and seed sowing and another area to display and sell plants to visitors.

The removal of the turf and topsoil.

Laying a water permeable liner to suppress the weeds.

Martin putting in footings for a new picket fence.

Putting in three new brick coldframes. Where possible we have used reclaimed materials.