From bird-spotting to bug-hunting, Stoneywish is the perfect place to see wildlife. The Reserve abounds in birds of all kinds.
While the hedgerows are busy with familiar garden species, the larger trees attract green and great spotted woodpeckers, jays and tawny and little owls. Our resident water-birds include grey heron and moorhen and in the spring families of baby mallards and Canada geese are a regular sight.
Rarer visitors such as gold-crest and tree creeper can also be seen if you are lucky. In this protected environment, you will see rabbits playing openly by the paths and foxes and even wild deer will sometimes appear in broad daylight. Other, more secretive creatures probably see us, though we don’t see them. Hedgehogs, moles, stoats, bats and slow worms are some we have glimpsed. In summer the long grass of the meadows hums with grasshoppers and supports over 8 species of butterflies, while the wetlands are home to dragonflies, frogs, newts and fish.
Here at Stoneywish we have been working for years to put flowers back into the English countryside.
The path through the reserve is bright with snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, red campions and foxgloves through the seasons, while the Bog Pond is home to a multitude of self-sown wetland and meadow plants, including orchids, which have returned in their hundreds.
Altogether, more than fifty species of wild flowers have colonised the Reserve in recent years and in the Smallholding there are colourful summer beds of cultivated herbs grown according to the gardening principles of the American Shaker Movement. Tree planting schemes include areas of working coppice and a young pinetum with examples of tree species now endangered in the wild. There is even a miniature Stumpery for fungi!
Part of the original farm landscape, the several mature hedgerows here provide refuge and food for birds and contain a wide range of native shrubs and trees, including the rare and historically important small-leaved lime.
Our friendly animals are all free-range, preserving the atmosphere of a traditional farm. The Smallholding and has pens for goats and pigs, while chickens roam the orchard. Out in the fields you will see other animals: horses, rare breed sheep, Large Black pigs and a highland cow not to mention the wild geese that come and go daily and the carp in the lake. This is the ideal place to introduce children safely to animals and let them observe them in their natural habitat.