Happy new year to you all.
December was a bit of a frustrating month while we battle to get our planning permission over the line. The case officer appointed to our application has to now adhere to a number of new measures to make sure that our plans satisfy a number of environmental issues like ‘are we using recyclable plastic on our polytunnels’ and will be be using recycled wood to build our office/shed? They obviously don’t recognise the fact that the whole purpose of the plans is to grow plants to encourage wildlife etc but there you go. We have now agreed to use solar panels on the shed and irrigation direct from the quarry. its a long slow process. Finally we have been asked to move the planting area for Palms nearer to our main entrance to reduce traffic driving down there, again they are not considering that having a base here saves 100 driving miles for clients in Cornwall to visit rather than coming up to our nursery in Exeter.
On a positive note we have had a local chap build us a Barn Owl Box to the exact specifications required and we hope as a longer term plan to encourage them to nest with us. We know we have them in the area particularly heading over towards Holsworthy just north of us. The box will be mounted on a large oak on the edge of the quarry and visible from quite a distance. Not sure how our resident roosting Tawny Owl will tolerate them but they do have different feeding habits with the Tawny hunting at night in woodlands and the Barny preferring to hunt voles in broad daylight.
Alongside the Owls we have set up bird boxes targeting specific species including Blue tits, Spotted Flycatchers, Woodpeckers and hopefully a Nuthatch.
Work has continued on our dead hedge with over 40 meters completed and already Wrens and Blackcaps have been popping in and out.
Early January we have the bulldozers coming in to clear an area of rough grassland (around 3/4 acre) which will be the foundation for a new wildflower meadow. A selection of native annual and perennial wildflowers will be sown early March and should produce a spectacular display by mid-summer and we have started work on the necessary pathways required to navigate the site.
Inside the quarry we continue to assess the water quality to see if we can accommodate fish stocks successfully so we have needed to set Crayfish traps and traps to catch any rogue Terrapins that might have been rehoused here. Good news is we have seen a Kingfisher. All being well we will introduce around 200 Common Carp by mid spring.
All in all we start this new year quietly optimistic and wait with eager anticipation for what might arrive here in the spring.
Andrew, Karen and Tom Pearson