As we start September, autumn is definitely making itself known with crisper mornings and the leaves starting to turn (which is early, even for us). We’ve had a productive summer here at Torrisdale with a lot of habit maintenance work and wildlife-related events.

The team has continued to clear more woodland areas, removing any invasive species as well as dead or diseased trees. This has already made a huge difference and will increase the chances of more native saplings and plants growing in the woods. Much of the rhododendrons we’ve removed have been put to use – instead of burning them, we’ve run them through our chipper and used the chippings to lay a series of new pathways across the estate (read more about this in our earlier blog posts).

Our ranger has also been busy putting a number of owl boxes up around the estate. We’ll be monitoring them to see what species we have in the area. The boxes were made with the help of some of the children attending our Woodland School. Running every Wednesday throughout July and August, these free sessions provided nature-inspired activities for children in our new woodland clearing area. Children made rafts and raced them down the river; took part in a scavenger hunt; played nature bingo; made leaf mandalas; and competed to make the best den. Each session started with a little educational talk on a different theme each week. We have had some great feedback and want to thank everyone who attended. We’ll definitely be running the Woodland School again, so keep an eye on our website for forthcoming dates.

Due to popular demand, we have increased the number of our guided Wildlife Walks. These free walks around the estate will now be held every first and third Monday of the month at 10.30 am. There’s no need to book, just meet outside the café. We’ll even provide you with binoculars if you need them.

Although the wildlife has been a little quieter recently now that the youngsters aren’t getting constantly fed, we’ve still had a few interesting sightings. A young pipistrelle bat was found in the grounds maintenance workshop; a juvenile heron spent a couple of days wandering around the estate looking a little bewildered; the red squirrels have been active near the castle and the dolphins have been spotted in the bay quite regularly.

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