When we moved to Troustrie in 2003 one of the big attractions of the property was that it included six acres of featureless grassland and a derelict steading which we immediately began managing in a low impact way aiming to provide a wildlife friendly habitat.
In 2007 we planted 350 broad leaf trees and a mixed hedge boundary and did very little to the remaining open space, apart from sit back and watch to see what arrived. A further 120 trees were added in 2014. Varieties include hawthorn, willow, oak, alder, elder, rowan ash, gean cherry, apple, field maple and hazel and beech. 17 years on and the surviving trees are maturing and the boundary hedge now provides a 7 ft shelter belt of mixed hawthorn, wild rose and elder. On a couple of occasions there have been sheep or horses grazing the rough grass but it’s been mainly left alone.
The local fallow deer population are a mixed blessing. Its wonderful to see them and know that they are safe here, but they do considerably damage any unprotected young trees. The only way to keep them out would be to erect a tall boundary fence which would be expensive. We’ve seen brown hare and badger and the bird population are certainly thriving, evidenced by lots of nests visible during the winter months. Species include sky larks, reed bunting, yellowhammer, tree sparrow, yellow wagtail, house martins, barn owl and tawny. And bats regularly hunt the growing insect population.
Other project for the future within this relatively small site would be to dig a pond which would attract even more birds and increase the site’s biodiversity. One corner does already flood during the winter months, so that would be an ideal site. And the addition of a bee hive.
Its an ongoing project and a privilege to have the opportunity, albeit a small one, to benefit the surrounding natural environment.