The Hedgerows around our fields
The wildlife at Frenchay Christmas Tree Farm is really thriving! Our three fields are surrounded by a native hedgerow, which is a haven for many birds and insects. Tree sparrows roost here in huge numbers and the accompanying twittering is wonderful to hear. The blackbirds and song thrush love the berries on the rowan trees that are growing in the hedgerows, too.
Birds and mammals at the farm
The farm is home to chiff chaffs, blue tits, gold crests, gold finches, green and spotted woodpeckers, buzzards and owls. It’s also home to mammals such as badgers, deer, mice and voles.
During the busy Christmas tree selling season, the robins make themselves very noticeable. They love to flit around the cut tree area, busy searching in the mulch for any newly surfaced insects or worms!
A recent addition is a falcon, who sits on a high tree near our barn and is becoming more comfortable with our presence. We were thrilled to find that we also have woodcock living on the farm. A wading bird, and mostly nocturnal, the woodcock is sadly on the RSPB’s Red List. But they love Christmas tree plantations, which provide them with ground cover and perhaps they have been attracted by our pond.
fungi at the farm
Every year, as our tree plantation ages, we are seeing a greater variety of fungi. A woodland’s beneficial partnership with fungi is becoming more understood. The fungi’s underground cottony web (mycelium) interweaves with tree roots and helps them absorb more water, nutrients and nitrogen. We would love to be able to see what is going on underground on our field!
In our barn area, we have put up nesting boxes and hope to attract swifts or house martins in the coming years
Insects and grasses
Throughout the year, we manage the farm in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We do have to spray the trees from time to time, as aphids can attack and destroy a crop of Christmas trees. But we keep this to a minimum and we let the grasses and wildflowers grow around the trees through the summer months.
The butterflies, ladybirds, wasps, spiders and many other insects thrive, all adding to the biodiversity at the farm.
wildflowers and pond-life
This year, we found orchids growing amongst the grasses for the first time! We have also been busy planting a native woodland of hazel, oak, maple, willow and hawthorns on an area of our wet field, which can be a bit too waterlogged to grow Christmas trees on.
Our large pond, which we dug to alleviate water logging caused by the motorway, attracts ducks and dragonflies. The eucalyptus and willow planted around the pond help soak up ground water, too, and they are growing fast.