General Estate - Chris Rollason, Deputy Park Manager
As the cold, short winter days start to draw out, the first signs of spring can be found across the Trust’s Rural Estate. Early spring flowers such as snowdrops, lesser celandine and daffodils are flowering and the familiar birdsong of blackbird, song thrush, robin and skylark can be heard during the early hours. Birds are beginning to prospect for nest sites and early bees and butterflies may start to be seen on the wing.

It has been a relatively dry winter this year which has enabled work to progress on our wetland restoration project at Sutton floodplain meadows, in partnership with the Wildlife Trust. The vegetation removal in the main cross field ditch has now been completed and work to remove the stumps and begin creating some scrapes will continue over the next few months. Also a feasibility study for a potentially even larger wetland project near Water Newton is currently well underway and we are working with partners from the Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency to look at what may be possible in this hydrologically exciting but complex location.

Finally, just a reminder that with lambing about to start on the Rural Estate and the imminent return of cattle in calf, we ask that all dogs are kept on leads when crossing fields with livestock, particularly at this very sensitive time of year.

Woodlands - Chris Rollason, Deputy Park Manager
Sadly we have to announce the departure of Scott Bryan our Head Groundsperson at Woodlands for the second time in quick succession. Scott has been instrumental in raising the quality of the sports pitches and his talent and passion in sports ground maintenance has earned him an enviable reputation. So much so that he received a job offer from Peterborough United that he simply couldn’t refuse. Scott remains a friend of the Trust and we wish him all the best in his future career.

The Trust are extremely pleased to announce that Scott will be replaced by Kevin Finn. Kevin spent over 20 years managing the grounds at Woodlands when it was operated by Pearl Assurance. Many locals will know Kevin from previous years and he is excited to return to a similar role as before but relishing the new opportunities and ambition that working with Nene Park Trust will bring.

Share Farming - Craig and Ryan Baxter, Farmers
During February, we pregnancy scanned our flock of Lleyn and Hebridean sheep. Whilst last year’s results were pleasing, we had high hopes of making some positive steps towards the optimal scanning result where each ewe is expecting two lambs. A little extra care for the ewes to ensure they were in tip-top condition when the rams arrived in the Autumn appears to have paid off, with a total of 473 lambs scanned in 267 ewes, up from 436 lambs scanned in 250 ewes last year.

With lambing set to commence during the latter half of April, Normangate will soon be awash with the familiar sight of lambs skipping and playing. Early starts and long days ensue, with lambing being the most important part of our sheep farming calendar. Lambing naturally outdoors means the weather plays a big part in all of this, but of course as farmers we are accustomed to focussing on what we can control rather than the many factors we cannot.

Aside from the excitement of over 400 new born lambs, 2022 marks the inaugural birthing of calves on the Rural Estate. 20 Ruby Red Devon cows have been scanned by the vet and are each expecting a single calf. The cows have been overwintered with a roof over their heads and straw underfoot, but have now arrived back at Tumuli Field (adjacent to West Holmes), with the first calves expected from mid-April. Overwinter, the cows have been eating silage made on the Rural Estate and bedded on straw baled on the outskirts of Peterborough, as we continue to focus on a farming system with low environmental impact using traceable, local inputs.

Park to Plate Lamb Boxes - Joanna Bacon, Senior Marketing Officer
We have been delighted with our Park to Plate customer feedback so far! To try our premium quality grass-fed lamb for yourself, simply head over to our online shop

Park to Plate lamb boxes contain a variety of cuts from lamb born and reared on the Nene Park Rural Estate, where every stage of the farming cycle is managed in a nature-friendly way by our share farming partners.

Boxes are available to order on a monthly basis throughout the year, with a new summer range coming soon.