Farm & gardens  |  White Waltham

Conservation

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Conservation has an important role to play here at Waltham. We have a healthy respect for all our wildlife from the tiniest soil invertebrates right up to the largest of our land mammals.
recent surveys
As a biodynamic and organic farm our wildlife are essential to the smooth running of the farm and gardens. The ecosystem services they provide often go unnoticed, so it is one of our goals to educate the public about the benefits a diverse ecosystem can bring.

Pollination is perhaps the most noticeable of the services our invertebrates provide. Most of us have observed bees and butterflies at work on the flowers but may not fully understand the role their activity plays in food and seed production. Other invertebrates operate as pest controllers, preying on species that would harm the garden and its crops if allowed to exist unchecked. They help to maintain a natural balance of pest and beneficial invertebrate species within the garden. Invertebrates also fulfil the role of cleaners and decomposers, recycling dead matter, such as leaf matter and garden waste, into composts and leaf moulds that nourish the soil. Even decaying and dead matter, such as rotting animal carcasses and feces is cleared away by invertebrates and processed to enrich the soil. The same thing is happening in the ponds and lake as aquatic invertebrates fulfil these roles, keeping the water clean and the ecosystem balanced. Within the soil, invertebrate species create aeration systems allowing both air and water to permeate down through the layers. Their presence is essential for a high quality, nourishing soil in which to grow our crops.

As some of the smaller members of the ecosystem invertebrates offer a high protein food source for many other species. Their presence is a crucial component of the many interconnected food webs on the estate supporting birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. These larger animals also have a role to play, shaping the landscape with their feeding patterns and fertilizing the land with their droppings. Just as in the invertebrate communities’ predators are essential to maintain a natural balance and ensure that no population grows too high and damages the environment as a whole.

A bugs life

Surveying our wildlife

By surveying our wildlife, we are able to better understand their needs and to manage Waltham in a way that safeguards their future. In 2008, the estate commissioned a survey by Buglife to assess the invertebrate populations on the estate.

The three-day survey recorded 346 species of which 10.4% were considered to be species of conservation significance. The survey noted that the estates policy of leaving deadwood standing and allowing deadwood to rot where it fell in the woodland, was one of the drivers of this high quality result.

our conservation work

Community  

Community involvement is an important aspect of our conservation work. By sharing our findings with the local and wider community we hope to inform and inspire others to value and care about the wildlife on their doorstep.

Our weekly newsletter is the perfect vehicle to open conversations and highlight the links between different elements of the farm and garden ecosystem.  Building knowledge through relationships with local experts, citizen scientists and wildlife charities is a cornerstone of our practice. Many of our surveys feed into national databases, adding value to the data collected as it helps to inform a greater picture of the state of wildlife in the UK today. Our conservation findings enrich both the education program and our seasonal events.

What’s on at Waltham place

Flora, fauna, food and philosophy

visitors

Walks, tours & events

With walks, tours and events running throughout the year, there are many opportunities to visit Waltham and experience the life of this vibrant farm and gardens.
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Fresh Vegetables & produce

The farm shop

Order online from June 2021, for freshly harvested seasonal biodynamic fruit and vegetables, organic free-range pork, preserves and chutneys.
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Fresh from the farm

The tearoom

During the Summer season the old barn is the perfect setting for a light lunch, showcasing seasonal ingredients produced here at
Waltham Place Farm.
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weekly newsletter

For regular updates on events, garden tours, wildlife and our vegetable box scheme, sign up to our weekly newsletter

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