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. Being in the HLS scheme, the headlands are left natural around the fields, hedgerows are not cut every year and some are left un-cut. These help provide food and shelter for wildlife. Pollen mixture and winter seed plots are sown around the farm and supplementary feeding fills the ‘hungry gap’ between Christmas and early spring. All of this encourages good numbers of farmland birds such as Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Linnet and Skylark, all of which are red listed for conservation concern. Over 120 bird species have been sighted on the estate, together with 25 butterfly and 15 dragon and damselfly species. Spread around the farm there are 10 owl boxes and 62 small nest boxes which are well used and the results sent to the British Trust for Ornithology nest record project.
A pollination study was undertaken by the University of Northampton in the gardens. Solitary bee boxes were erected on the south facing wall of the walled garden and all of them were utilised. 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.
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.