Wildlife and Conservation at The Private Hill

Images courtesy of Christopher Tomson

the farm's Independent Conservation Adviser

Thrussendale Farm, home to The Private Hill, is very much a working farm managed in harmony with nature. The underlying rock is chalk which forms the distinctive scenery of the Yorkshire Wolds and chalk outcrops can be seen at the northern end of the farm on Wooing Hill.

The farm is in a Countryside Stewardship agreement, a government scheme which encourages farmers to enhance the natural assets on the farm such as wildflowers, birds, insects particularly pollinators, ponds, woodland and hedgerows.

Curlews often pass through in the Spring and can be seen near the pond. Additional wetland is planned to encourage them to breed on the farm. They have a very distinct call.

Barn owls can also often be seen on the farm and are being encouraged to breed here.

The natural chalk grassland on Wooing Hill and on the slopes behind The Private Hill is rich in native wildflowers during the spring and summer and these in in turn attract a range of butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. Sheep lightly graze the grassland on Wooing Hill to stop it getting too tall and shading out the wildflowers.

Bird’s foot trefoil and Lady’s Bedstraw so called because of its use for stuffing mattresses in former times

The hedgerows on the farm are managed sensitively to provide blossom in the spring for insects, safe nesting cover for birds and berries in the Autumn for both resident birds and migrant birds such as Redwings and Fieldfares which arrive in September from Scandinavia. There is also an ongoing programme of new hedgerow planting around the farm.

Butterflies on the farm include the Marbled White seen here feeding on Scabious which grows on Wooing Hill.

Woods with Bluebells are ancient and have never been farmed. Woods without Bluebells are often those that were planted in the 1600’s on former farmland. At this time of year they are spectacular.

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