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Monday, 11 May 2015

BBC Countryfile comes to Charlecote

As many of you know, I love volunteering at The National Trust's Charlecote Park. It is such an amazing experience to be out and about in the park with all the animals and wildlife, I find it so interesting and I have learned so much. The Charlecote team of staff and volunteers are one of the nicest group of people I have met in a very long time. It feels like one big family.
Being a volunteer photographer, my role is a little different from most other volunteer and staff members at Charlecote and one I feel very privileged to have. 

There are so many things I enjoy about my role, far too many to list but if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will already know some of them. This week BBC Countryfile presenter Matt Baker visited Charlecote Park with his team to film a series of clips for an up and coming show with Paul Smith (Head Gardener) and Adam Maher (Head Ranger) both also share the role of acting Park and Garden Manager. BBC Countryfile featuring Charlecote Park and Charlecote Mill will be aired on Sunday 24th of May on BBC1 at 7pm and I for one can't wait!

                                       Adam and Paul make a great team.

My day started in Places Meadow with Matt Baker and Adam. Many of you will know Places Meadow as the Buttercup Meadow and I can tell you that the buttercups are starting to show already, it won't be long until the whole field is full again!

                                                This is a picture from last year.

 Matt and Adam walking along the River Avon which runs across the bottom of the Meadow.

This beautiful meadow has been seeded in the past with a mix of wild flowers but after being under water last Winter for around three months, all the seeds were washed away. As you can see below, the Meadow looked more like a lake at a nature reserve. The idea behind the new plants is to introduce flowers that would have grown in this field many years ago and also to encourage all sorts of wildlife, including bumble bees and butterflies.

 This year, to give the new wild flowers a better chance of surviving, it was decided that plug plants would be planted instead. By the time Winter comes, these plants should be well established and will not be washed away by the river. It is hoped that with time, these plants will reseed themselves and spread more naturally. It is a long process but it will be around for many years to come.

There have been lots of helping hands to plant these plug plants as there were 2,500 of them! Staff, volunteers and visitors have helped to plant them. There will be another square of 3,500 plug plants  planted later in the year so if you are happy to help, keep an eye on Charlecote's Facebook and Twitter because as they say, 'Many hands make light work' :)

Just a few of the many people who have helped plant the plug plants.

Adam explains what is happening in Places Meadow to Matt and his team.

Here Adam and Matt plant some of the plugs. Of course I made them stop for a quick picture or two! Things like this don't happen everyday so I had to record them in some way :)

Matt Baker with Nick and Adam. Nick is also a Ranger at Charlecote Park and has also planted some of these plug plants.

After Places Meadow and a bit of planting we headed over for a coffee break, then into West Park with Paul to see the deer and the heronry.

                                             Paul getting his microphone fitted.

A heavily pregnant doe.

The fawns are due from the end of May and through June.
Here is one of the newly born fawns from last year.

You can really see the change in the deer's coats now, some of them are still a little patchy but most are losing their Winter coats and the lovely warm colours of the summer coats are coming through.
Mixed within the does are last year's fawns and some of the prickets (1-2 year old males)

Matt and Paul out in West Park searching for the deer.

 Walking up through the Avenue towards the heronry.

 From in front of the heronry you have one of my favourite views of the house. I have a photo taken from here for every season and I can't decide which time of year I like best.

The heronry has 13 active nests this year and is one of the largest heronries in Warwickshire. For more on the Charlecote Herons, read my previous blog called  'Charlecote and the Reawakening of the Park and Gardens'

After a spot of lunch in the Orangery, Matt headed for the Parterre with his team to do some more filming.

I have to say Paul and his team of  staff and volunteer gardeners have done an amazing job on the Parterre. It has been a 'must visit' for me over the last few weeks. It really is beautiful.

 It was an amazing day and a real privilege to be able to tag along. I think Paul and Adam did amazingly, I felt very proud to work with them. Matt was excellent as always too :) I am so looking forward to seeing them all in the show on the 24th of this month and also Charlecote Mill which is where Matt and his team headed after leaving Charlecote Park.

A big thanks to everyone involved that day for letting me join them. An experience I won't forget. Thank you.

I have just spotted this video which I had to add to my blog. It was made by the lovely Ruth at Charlecote Park. Love it!


Copyright Jana Eastwood


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