22nd November 2012
The Shooting Season

The shoot season is now well underway and it’s been good to welcome a few new teams to Mornacott to join our regulars who come back to us year after year. 

The shoot season is now well underway and it’s been good to welcome a few new teams to Mornacott to join our regulars who come back to us year after year. Our two new drives created in the summer have proved very popular; the River Drive offering the opportunity to see the pickers-up exercise the skill of their dogs in water retrieves and the snap shooting at some very tall birds in Wester Wood exercising the skill of the guns.

Our shoot lodges are being well used in their first season of operation and the ability to stay on site has proved very popular with teams of guns. The house team has been working especially hard in preparing the lodges and providing dinners and breakfasts to our guests and they’ve now taken on the challenge of arranging a black tie dinner night for one of our regular teams of armed forces guns.

Despite some early concerns over failing cover crops and some difficult days with sunny weather and northerly winds the 2012 season looks as if it might well be the best yet.  


29th September 2012
Renovation Project

In keeping with Mornacott’s ongoing improvement project it is now the Stables’ turn for some TLC. Building work is to start very shortly on replacing the stable roofs and improving and replacing the surrounding guttering.

In keeping with Mornacott’s ongoing improvement project it is now the Stables’ turn for some TLC. Building work is to start very shortly on replacing the stable roofs and improving and replacing the surrounding guttering.

As ever we are reliant on the weather co-operating with us, in the last month fields have been topped, the stone track has been re-laid and the outbuildings have been re-creosoted; so fingers crossed that Winter holds off a little longer, allowing for completion before the bad weather sets in. 


26th August 2012
Rearing Project

Nearly nine weeks of school summer holidays presented the ideal opportunity for a summer project for young William. 

Nearly nine weeks of school summer holidays presented the ideal opportunity for a summer project for young William. Two hundred duck chicks duly arrived at the start of the holidays and William’s rearing programme began.

Early starts, late finishes and the odd traumatic departure typified the next seven weeks but today saw the fruition of the project with 190 odd ducks being released onto the pond. The ducks immediately took to their new habitat which met with very noisy approval. Hoppy (so named for his deformed leg) remains at Mornacott with Dave (another duck with slightly arrested development) and they’ve joined the chickens in their pen in the hope that a little intensive care will allow them to rejoin the others in a few weeks. 


23rd August 2012
The War against Weeds

With the changeable weather of this summer making sileaging and haymaking an “on and off” type event we’ve been using the downtime to clear some of the more invasive weed infestations at Mornacott.

With the changeable weather of this summer making sileaging and haymaking an “on and off” type event we’ve been using the downtime to clear some of the more invasive weed infestations at Mornacott.

Ragwort seems to be an ever present problem but each year the “crop” is getting smaller thankfully. The biggest task this year has been to clear the huge infestation of Himalyan Balsam on the river banks before the seed pods burst. Himalayan Balsam, whilst attractive to look at, is very invasive and quickly spreads to smother all types of native plant often causing heavy erosion of river banks. Thankfully, as we post this piece, the last plant has been pulled!....until next year! 


30th July 2012
Conservation Pond

The aptly named “Below Road” Field which nestles alongside the River Yeo has been the frequent beneficiary of various drainage schemes over the years and a final attempt last year to clear the old clay drainage pipes layed in the 1960s havi

The aptly named “Below Road” Field which nestles alongside the River Yeo has been the frequent beneficiary of various drainage schemes over the years and a final attempt last year to clear the old clay drainage pipes layed in the 1960s having been abortive it became clear that a different approach was required.

The heavy clay nestling under the shallow layer of topsoil provided very little opportunity for any meaningful agricultural activities to be undertaken since the field spent at least nine months of the year completely waterlogged. So following advice from the Environment Agency and a 10% grant from the BASC work began to turn the wettest area of the field into a conservation pond. Works were only finally completed two weeks ago but already they are bearing fruit. Even as the digger moved out ducks and geese began using the pond and today a pair of Green Sandpipers were sighted.

Last week a flock of Lapwings were seen in the marshy areas alongside the pond and we hope that the coming autumn and winter might cause the pond to be used by all manner of winter migratory birds.
 


15th July 2012
Gap Year Students Arrive

Every year we take on students for Gap Year work. Our new recruits this year, Conan and Jordan, started this week and are already busy with a huge list of jobs from clearing Ragwort, haymaking and the myriad of general maintenance tasks that always bui

Every year we take on students for Gap Year work. Our new recruits this year, Conan and Jordan, started this week and are already busy with a huge list of jobs from clearing Ragwort, haymaking and the myriad of general maintenance tasks that always build up at this time of year.

Our two new recruits are no strangers to Mornacott having visited last in the Spring of 2011 when they were part of the group undertaking their preparation training to work in an orphanage in Lesotho sponsored by Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale. Their last summer was spent in the mountains of southern Africa without electricity and running water . This summer will hopefully be slightly more luxurious but probably equally as hard!” 


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