This month’s half day visit arranged by Sharon took fifteen of us to the Stourton Estates, near Baumber, and proved to be an eye opener for every one of us! Owned by Antony & Helen Strawson, he personally took us on a tour of the farmlands, with frequent stops to explain the forestry programme which they followed, producing timber from a range of trees for a range of purposes, as well as mulch, chippings etc for the garden. Diversification has seen them fence off large areas of fields to allow the development of herds of red deer, the highlight of the tour. As we were there in the afternoon, the stags had taken off to the furthest corner of their field, to get some shelter against the trees, as they don’t care for the heat of the sun. Even 1200mm of lens didn’t show them up very well, but it was a different matter with their ladies! When we arrived in the field (the site of a deserted medieval village, no less!) where they were currently grazing, the sight of our tractor and trailer brought them at a gallop to our side. They posed carefully for us, whilst we learned about their lifestyle, outdoors as much as possible, whilst they gained in weight, and aged happily. On to stop at the nursery field, where those ladies who had been visited by the stags were enjoying the afternoon sunshine. The latest arrival was admired from a respectful distance! The afternoon ended with tea and excellent cake enjoyed sat out in the grassy events area.
The adjacent Baumber Walled Garden was also unknown to most of us, and looks like being a necessary visit for the Gardening Group!
A very interesting, relaxing and unusual afternoon visit. More members could have been accommodated, and you missed a treat. Many thanks Sharon.