Farmland & Wildlife
More than half of the Estate is in the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, a government-backed initiative designed to support environmentally beneficial farming practices. Since 2010 more than a mile of hedgerows has been planted, together with two new broadleaf woodlands containing 3,000 saplings. New ponds and wildflower meadows have been established, as well as grass margins around many of the fields.
There are several public rights of way across the Estate. In addition, as part of the HLS scheme, there is permissive access over West Hill Meadow, a traditional grass meadow adjoining the Brampton Valley Way.
The Estate works closely with Moulton College, offering the students work experience in areas such as tree planting and hedge planting. Each year groups of students use the gardens and the Estate as an educational resource. Students from the University of Northampton use the gardens to carry out research on pollinating insects. On the farm crop trials are run in association with local land agents Berrys and the seed producer Frontier, again involving students from Moulton College.
Previously a volunteer has monitored the number of different bird species on the Estate for the British Trust for Ornithology. Some 56 species were spotted, including two red kites and tree sparrows (now a very uncommon bird). An osprey was sighted flying overhead – presumably on a fishing trip to nearby Pitsford Reservoir. There are also several nesting boxes sited across the Estate.
A pollination study undertaken by the University of Northampton is taking place in the gardens. Solitary bee boxes were erected last year on the south facing wall of the walled garden and all of them were utilised. It is hoped that the boxes will be used again this year. Results from the study show that the gardens at Lamport contain eleven of the twelve native species of bumble bee. A bumble bee mix is being planted in the walled garden to try to increase the bee population and hopefully attract the missing species.