August 03, 2022

An update from the Wild side of Elmore

An update from the Wild side of Elmore
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It’s been almost a year since we’ve allowed nature to take back 250 acres of the Elmore Estate. That sounds a bit like a sort of hostile takeover! But although nature can be fairly brutal, the entire process of rewilding here at Elmore Court has so far been gentle.

Nature doesn’t always swoop in and try to dominate (that tends to be what we humans do), instead it takes its time and does things that we might not always understand at first...

A beautiful example of this is on the Knepp Estate where the Old English Longhorn graze the rewilded land but stay clear of a particular plant called Fleabane. Apparently, it doesn’t quite make the cut for their pallets. This has encouraged the plant to spread, with levels getting seemingly high.

Rather than hack it all back it was allowed to grow and it soon became apparent that the areas where Fleabane had “taken over” were serving as a tree nursery for new Oak saplings. Since the Longhorn avoided this area; new life had been allowed to flourish. We are watching with fascination how the landscape might change over the years because of this.

Reaffirming to us that we really do need to let nature run its course...

The treehouses have sprouted

Back in January we wrote about the beginning of the treehouse build and we’re delighted to share that they are in full swing, with the first few platforms already up.  Even though they aren’t quite done yet, the views from here are spectacular. 

Just imagine sipping an ice-cold drink on a warm summer's evening while watching the wetland flourish with new life!  

Ariel view of three treehouses being constructed on the border of a woodland which overlooks a stunning field
A sunny day next to a lush woodland that has a modern treehouse being built in it
Ariel view of the decking of a treehouse in construction; nestled in a beautiful Cotswold woodland
A treehouse in construction, sitting on stilts on the border of a beautiful woodland
Stunning summer view from a treehouse overlooking a rewilding field; treehouse is in a woodland area and is half way through construction

A new wetland full of biodiversity

A wetland you say!? Yup, that’s correct. The fields next to the woodlands where the treehouses are nestled will eventually be home to a brand new wetland. 

We’re hoping that it will be teaming with all sorts of interesting birds, new life and wildflowers. We’re incredibly excited about this and love the fact that we are improving the biodiversity of the area.   

The first step of this process was to cut back all the grass before some incredible, one-of-a-kind kit arrives at Elmore in September to continue the process.

We'd love to share it with you now, but we think that it'll be way more exciting to see it in action, so watch this space!

View onto the fields where the new wetland will be
Ariel view of the fields that will become a wetland area
Ariel view from above the woodlands

Home grown goodness

The walled garden is in its second year of production, and we've learnt a lot about what grows well and what doesn’t.

Our wedding guests and chefs alike have loved having fresh food right on their doorstep, planted, grown and harvested less than 100m away from the kitchen and Gillyflower. You can’t get fresher than that!

We’re working incredibly hard to find new opportunities to become more sustainable and eventually be a carbon neutral wedding venue, and the production of organic vegetables and meat, right here at Elmore Court is going to be a big part of that.

We hope that we can continue with the success in the walled garden and expand our production until a large proportion of the food you eat at your wedding is directly from our grounds. 

Close up shot of a chef harvesting microgreens in a sunny greenhouse
Rows of tomatoes in a greenhouse, hanging on their vines, ripening in the summer sun
Ariel view of a kitchen garden full of vegetables, a greenhouse and a small orchard of fruit trees
A greenhouse full of seedlings and harvested vegetables, on a sunny day
freshly picked courgettes next to some beautiful flowers

A welcome guest

The English Longhorn cattle have welcomed a guest, Trevorton Quill, a rather hefty bull who will be staying with the ladies for a few months...

It’s very exciting for us (and for him!). They’re a great bunch and spend their days wandering around, helping us manage the land by grazing on the various fields. We have around 30 of them and we’ll be managing this number carefully so as to not upset the balance of the land.

They live happily outdoors all year and will soon form part of our “closed loop” food system where we produce and generate as much of the food for our weddings here at Elmore Court as possible.

A longhorn bull standing in a lush green field with other grazing longhorn cows
A calf standing next to a large English Longhorn bull in a field in the Cotswolds
A man opening a trailer with a hefty Longhorn bull, coming into a field to join other longhorn
A herd of English Longhorn cattle grazing in a beautiful field with a bull in the foreground looking towards the camera
A large English Longhorn bull walking off of a trailer into a large field in the Cotswolds
A herd of English Longhorn grazing in a Cotswold field with a moody grey sky in the background

So what's next?

We hope you found this update from nature informative, and we’ll continue to share news from the estate with you as things progress.

Our next big push will be carefully implementing the wetland area just before the rainy season (not that we’re wishing away the gorgeous summer we’ve been having). We'll give you more of an insight into that adventure once it’s done. 

The treehouses are coming along superbly and as you can imagine, there’s a lot to coordinate with them so we’re slowly chipping away. Our next update will have a lot more detail on their progress and we may even have a few up close and personal shots to share with you too!

Lastly, we’re hoping to have some more content to share on the environmental side of rewilding, including chats with different ecologists and other people who have been involved in the process so far. 

We have a lot going on and we are super excited to share all of this marvellous news with you and we hope you’re enjoying following the journey with us.  

 

Until next time, stay wild.

Cynneth & Team E

xx 

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