The annual visit of sheep to the Estate took place on Monday 15 August 2011.
Within a few days, one sheep was dead and another injured, probably savaged by dogs. The bites were quite low on the sheep’s neck, and could have been caused by terriers who are small enough to have squeezed under the wire. Understandably, the sheep have now been removed and the injured sheep is making a good recovery. But sadly, it is unlikely that a grazier will trust us with sheep again.
Free Yoga sessions were again being held throughout the summer on the Chorleywood House Estate, every Sunday from 31 July to 21 August 2011, 10:30 until 12 noon. For more information, see this poster or contact the www.yogatree.org.uk website.
Two local artists, Carole Hawkins and Wendy Bird, displayed some of their work in the Summer House during the September and early October weekends. Further details of Carole’s work can be seen in this poster.
For the last 7 years sheep have been grazing on the Estate in Chorleywood Dell and Dell Field for about 6 weeks at a time. This year is no different and on 28 July we welcomed 24 sheep – 7 in Dell Field and 17 in Chorleywood Dell.
Most of the flock are Hebridean (black) and Jacob (speckled) – see photos below. They will be staying until 8 September (a total of 6 weeks). Robin Harman is the grazier of the sheep.
Local people have been recruited and trained as volunteer ‘watchers’ who will keep a regular eye on the sheep on behalf of the grazier and site owner, TRDC.
Chorleywood Dell and Dell Field are located in the centre of the 160 acre estate and consist mainly of flower rich meadows and some scrub and trees. Sheep grazing brings benefits for wildlife by stopping scrub and trees from invading grassland habitats and helps with the development of a variety of vegetation heights and species.
N.B. Dog owners should be aware that they have a legal responsibility to keep their dogs under close control at all times. Please keep your dog on a lead.
Sheep being delivered by Robin Harman
Come on you lot, hurry up!
… and, best of all, Les Mead’s YouTube video. Les is a Lib Dem District Councillor at Three Rivers District Council.
For more information, see this poster or contact Petrina Llewellyn, Countryside Management Service Projects Officer on 01727 848168 or by email.
On Saturday October 17, from 11am to 3pm, the new Community Orchard held its first Apple Day – in the Summer House near the top tennis courts close to the entrance to Chorleywood House Estate. For further details see the Community Orchard website.
The “Flying Flock” came to Dell Field on Wednesday, 16 September 2009, and will be resident on the Estate until after Christmas. If you are walking your dog in the area, please keep it on a lead.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, like many other conservation organisations, keeps its own flock of sheep to graze its grassland nature reserves. During the last few decades a large proportion of our flower-rich grassland has been lost due to reversion to scrub and then woodland. It is therefore vital to save the heaths, commons and downs that still survive.
Grazing is the traditional form of management but the number of commercial flocks and herds continues to decline. The alternative is cutting but this is a drastic and sudden process that tends to decrease the species diversity of the grassland. Furthermore, the cuttings have to be raked off afterwards, which is a tedious and back-breaking job disliked by most volunteers. Grazing is a more gradual process as the sheep eat some plants and leave others. They don’t flatten anthills like mowing machines but their hooves do create small bare patches where seeds can germinate. They also return some nutrients to the soil in the form of dung.
The Trust’s “Flying Flock” consists of about 40 Shetland ewes. The island breeds are used because they are hardy, people-friendly, and better at controlling scrub than the more modern breeds as they will browse bushes as well as grazing the grass. They are very thrifty and can survive on low fertility systems, i.e. grasslands without fertilizers. They are also much more intelligent than domestic breeds.
The free Yoga sessions held every Sunday in the grounds of the Estate during the summer holiday passed by very successfully, with up to 40 participants on one day. Thanks to Monty (a resident in the main House) who took the photo.
The Chorleywood House Estate has this summer been granted the prestigious Green Flag Award as one of the best green spaces in the country. Inspectors visited the site in June, and were impressed by the ease of access, the presence of such variety of areas – formal parkland, open meadows and mature woodland leading to the River Chess. They felt that Three Rivers District Council together with the Friends of Chorleywood House Estate were maintaining and improving the grounds for the benefit of the community. They mention also the community groups which use the estate, such as the Youth Football and Tennis Clubs.
To learn more about the Green Flag awards, visit their website www.greenflagaward.org.uk. Chorleywood is in the Eastern Region.