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  • PollyMG

Trees, Donkeys and Kestrels!

2015-08-09 22:30:28

July has been a busy and productive month (so busy in fact this blog is rather late!)

Firstly we were visited by an advisor from The Woodland Trust, to whom we have applied for a grant under their MoreWoods scheme. The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest conservation charity. They campaign to protect precious ancient woodland, restore old woodlands and create new ones. As their website states,

“We inspire people up and down the country to visit woods, plant trees, treasure wildlife and enjoy the overwhelming benefits that woods and trees offer to our landscape and lives”.

The MoreWoods scheme makes grants available to encourage land-owners to plant native woodland and is one of a number of schemes they have available. The grant shares the cost of the trees, spirals and tubes. Schools and community projects can benefit from free trees and advice. Go to for more information.

Applying was a simple process of an explanatory email and maps and having been given the green light, we then awaited the visit by the local advisor. Happily he agreed that the land was suitable. Species included in the agreed package are Aspen, Crab Apple, Field Maple, Goat Willow, Common Oak, Wild Cherry, Sweet Chestnut, Walnut along with shrubs – Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Hazel, Hawthorn and Spindle. So we now look forward to the autumn when the trees will be delivered. Look out friends and relatives – we will be seeking volunteers to come and help plant 500 trees!

We have found a beautiful and, as it turns out, award-winning series of stationery items which are now stocked in our shop. Created for the Woodland Trust by Go Stationery, a percentage of the sales of the Woodland Trust items are donated back to the Trust. You can find them in our online shop.

Also during July we attended a very informative and interesting day at The Donkey Sanctuary’s training centre, learning about the daily care of donkeys. We plan to foster two donkeys next year and the course was a great eye opener into their world and we would highly recommend it to anyone considering owning donkeys. The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth (including the Donkey Assisted Therapy Centre) is a favourite destination for us and our visitors. Open from dawn until dusk everyday, free to enter (donations welcomed), a wonderful café and very dog friendly, over 500 donkeys can be seen, stroked and photographed in beautifully kept gardens and paddocks over many acres. Over 25,000 donkeys have been looked after by the charity since it was started by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE in 1969 and their work has transformed the working life and veterinary care of donkeys across the world. The Donkey Assisted Therapy Centres across the UK help children with special needs within their very special riding schools and also help adults via their outreach programme that visits hospices and care homes.

Back at home, a new and currently regular visitor to the farm is a kestrel, who has been seen on a number of occasions. Photographed here by Anne Clark.

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