Rain Rain Go Away!
The 2012 season has certainly been a little challenging on the weather front! We started the season in March to glorious sunshine, experiencing a particularly warm start. Those customers who managed to visit the Park in March may remember sitting outside and starting on their suntans early! However, no sooner had we notified customers about the hosepipe ban then the rain began and it doesn't seem to have stopped since! Met Office figures are indicating that this year has been the wettest in 100 years, and the second wettest since records began in 1910. Fingers crossed, 2013 will be the sunniest in 100 years!
On the farm however Mark has spent the past week getting very wet and cold in the bottom of the ditches around the fields on the farm trying to clear some of the field drains in an effort to get rid of some of the standing water on the farmland. Certainly one of the less glamorous sides of farming! Let's hope we have a drier winter from hereon to enable the crops to recover a little!
Birds Around The Park
Some of our bird loving customers have recently spotted a few more birds in the trees around the Caravan Park, around the Fishing Lake and the River Trader alongside the Park which don't appear on our main bird list on the Fishing & Wildlife page of our website. The latest spots include:-
Redwing : The redwing is most commonly encountered as a winter bird and is the UK's smallest true thrush. It has a distinctive creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches. They roam across the UK's countryside, feeding in fields and hedgerows, rarely visiting gardens, except in the coldest weather when snow covers the fields.
Snipe : Look out on the River Trader for Snipe which are medium sized, skulking wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. They are mottled brown above, with paler buff stripes on the back, dark streaks on the chest and pale under parts.
Yellow Hammer : Part of the Buntings family, Yellow Hammers have unmistakeable bright yellow head and underparts, brown back streaked with black, and chestnut rump. In flight it shows white outer tail feathers. Often seen perched on top of a hedge or bush, singing. Its recent population decline make it a Red List species.
Thank you John and Delia for letting us know about the above. If any other customers catch sight of any birds which are not listed then please let us know!
As it was Remembrance Sunday, Mark and I walked across the field track to the neighbouring farm (Bishop's Farm) where there stands a War Memorial to the crew of a Lancaster Bomber which crashed down into the field on 29 January 1943. The Memorial is a small but lasting tribute to the crew and all the other brave souls who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.
They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them.
More photographs are in our albums. The Memorial is only a short walk from the Park but many of our customers may not even know it is there. You turn left out of the Park entrance, cross over Tenant's Bridge and then half way across the first field on your right-hand side there is a farm roadway. This is before you reach Bishop's Farm. If you walk down the roadway, behind the first hedge at the bottom of the first field you will see the War Memorial. There is also a Memorial Service held on the first Sunday in October each year at the Monument itself.
We cannot help but see all the coverage in the news about the awful Ash dieback disease. We've been out checking all the Ash trees around the Park and Farm. No signs yet but we would really hate for the disease to reach us. So many of the large trees around the edges of the Park and around the farmhouse are Ash trees and they would take so many years to regrow if they had to be replaced.
The disease is called Chalara dieback and is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus, chalara fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death. The Forestry Commission have produced a really helpful guide for spotting signs of the disease at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Symptoms_guide_Chalara_dieback_of_ash_2012.pdf/$FILE/Symptoms_guide_Chalara_dieback_of_ash_2012.pdf
Over the course of next year we would very much welcome any help from customers in keeping an eye on the trees around the Park and letting us know if you think any trees may be showing signs of the disease.
Northlands Bridge - Road Closure
Just to let everyone know the bridge strengthening works have now started on Northlands Bridge so the bridge is closed for about a month. For anyone wanting to visit the Park from the A16, the road closure means taking a little de-tour via Sibsey. If you come out of Sibsey past the Sibsey Windmill, cross over Trader Bridge and then come up the river bank you reach the Park on the right side of the roadworks! We are actually very grateful to Lincs CC as the closure has been timed perfectly now harvest is over and the Park has closed for autumn. A little inconvenience is also no problem when it is safeguarding our lovely little bridge!