Over the Hedge June 2012

Much has changed at Trumpington Farm Company since our last Over The Hedge.

After nine years at TFC Andrew Crossley has moved on to pastures new, to plough a new furrow, … anyway, he has joined the team at Thurlow Estate near Haverhill. In 2007 the operational running of TFC passed to Richard Pemberton from his father Antony, who continues to manage the Peterborough operations. In November, Richard welcomed David Knott to the team, who brings his wife Sue and family from Lincolnshire. As the new General Estate Manager, David is responsible not only for farming matters, but also wider estate issues.

Firstly, the Meadows where a lot of people called with concerns over a sometimes solitary, forlorn looking cow. The herd’s owner, Angelika von Heimendahl assures us that she is healthy but elderly and simply living out her dotage on the meadows. Be assured that the cattle are checked daily. Angelika’s Red Poll cattle are a particularly docile breed and well suited to the interaction with the many walkers, runners, dog walkers, punters and cyclists they encounter. We would ask that dogs be kept on leads at all times while around the cattle.

The small wood bordering Spring Lane meadow, known to some as the Gruffalo Wood, has been a site of some recent maintenance. Some old and fallen wood was removed along with choking ivy. While we love the wild and natural spaces as much as anyone, good stewardship requires that a periodic clearing will improve the diversity of habitats and bring new life into this lovely space. We will be replanting there in the autumn to fill any gaps.

Another significant improvement programme to replace the fencing along the eastern boundary of the meadows was completed in April. The new fencing and gates, which were part funded through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, will prevent cattle from escaping from Grantchester Meadows.

Over the winter and spring months we have worked closely with the Grantchester Cricket Club.  The creation of the cricket pitch on Spring Lane meadow is completed and the new Grantchester Cricket Team began playing matches on Sunday 20th May. For a full list of fixtures, please telephone David Foster or Steve Wilson.

Grantchester Fair

The Grantchester Fair scheduled for May was sadly postponed for a couple of reasons. Firstly Spring Lane meadow was very wet under foot and would have caused damage to the cricket outfield and secondly, the village car park was far too soggy to take cars. The absence of parking for an anticipated 500 cars presented a logistical challenge too far. Charlie and Emma Owen who run Oakleigh Fairs of Melbourne were disappointed but said “It would have meant that we couldn’t guarantee a safe, enjoyable event, so under the circumstances, we have agreed with …Trumpington Farm Company, to postpone until later in the year.” The rescheduled dates are 8th and 9th September.

Crops
Some villagers have asked which crops are growing nearby. This year we are growing oil seed rape, winter wheat and sugar beet around Grantchester. The rape spent an unusually long time flowering through May, because of the early warmth followed by the dramatic drop in temperature, its beautiful colour reminding us of the long absent sunshine.

The crops are growing very well right now and have great yield potential for a strong harvest. The recent rains have benefited all crops however, wet conditions significantly raise the risk of disease. Assuming sunshine  at some stage we anticipate harvest beginning in late July with the oil seed rape, followed by wheat in mid to late August.

Considerate Harvesting
We’re aware of the disruption to traffic that can be caused during the harvest months of July and August and always try to keep this to a minimum. Farm traffic movements through the village are always minimised but we would ask for your patience if you find yourself caught behind a load. We will try to put dates for harvesting onto the home page of the website where possible and we are learning how to Tweet (!) to keep everyone informed of harvest progress.
Follow us on Twitter at #trumpingtonfarm.

Wildlife on the Estate
Herons have made an area of woodland toward the City their home. A British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) survey team have identified 13 nesting pairs which they are keeping tabs on. David is regularly entertained by a male Little Egret strutting and shrieking around this nesting site like a sergeant major, trying to boss the Herons around while being half their size. Routine surveys across the land have identified that the Lesser White Throats haven’t shown up this year from Africa and the second breeding attempt of our five resident pairs of Lapwings failed when water levels rose again. Our Snipe breeding pairs are back again this year, some Common Terns are currently fishing on the Cam and a Barn Owl is in residence on Trumpington Fen? At Cantelupe Farm water voles have been seen near the footpath at Bourn Brook. We are taking measures to protect all of these wildlife sites and will keep you posted on any notable sightings. Please tell us of your sightings and we’ll share them on the website.

Finally, you may have spotted sheep grazing on the Trumpington side of the meadows. They are a grazing flock visiting from Cumbria for the summer months and will return for breeding in July.

Grazing

Grazing pastures are available in Great Shelford. Please call if you are interested 01223 841101.

Meet the Team events
A note for your diaries. Our Farm Manager, David will be leading a Guided walk on Coton reserve for Cambridge Past, Present, Future on Thursday 6th September. Scramble with the Farmer on a tour around the crops and wildlife in that lovely space. All are invited. www.events.cambridgeppf.org.

We are planning to host a Neighbours Farm Walk in October. If anyone would be interested in walking the farm with David and Richard please register your interest at info@trumpingtonestate.com.

Please visit our new website at www.trumpingtonestate.com where we hope to begin generating latest news, tweets and pictures of all the activity around the Meadows and the Estate. The site should help us share information through news and enquiries from our neighbours. Please contact us via info@trumpingtonestate.com with questions and comments.

Richard, David, Debbie and all the team at Trumpington Farm Company

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