Monday, 9 June 2014

NT's Killerton House and Gardens, Devon

THIS weekend provided an opportunity to enjoy south Devon - well a small and very special part of Devon anyway, in the form of the NT's Killerton House and Gardens, as fortunately a member of the family lives on the estate.

The Park and Devon beyond

It's is a wonderful parkland stuffed full of old (ancient), pollarded and gnarly oaks and sweet chestnut trees.

Is there a face?

There are also many planted and now mature exotics in the garden, which were collected directly from source by the previous owners when such things were all the rage.  The estate lies on an extinct volcano of all things and includes the site of an ancient hill fort.  There are long views all round and specialness (is that a word?) of the estate belies the fact that it is just outside Exeter and near the M5.

The mature trees are nothing short of spectacular and play host to a myriad of insects and bird life.  It was something to get up early, sit below the spreading boughs and simply watch the comings and and goings.  There were a large number of small birds feeding on its boughs including treecreepers and nuthatches, plus woodpeckers.

A young blackbird on an oak branch waiting to be fed

In the garden of the house where we stayed, a family of wrens had made a nest; the parent birds made frequent visits to feed the insatiable appetite of their young:


Around the grounds the deadwood provides wonderful habitats for all sorts of insects and grubs and the predators that feed on the them, such as this rusty coloured toad.

In amongst the scrub the warblers were still evident by their strident song, particularly the chiff-chaffs, garden warblers and this blackcap:

The foxglove flowers have now opened and many are yet to drop even their lowest pink trumpet.  Bees are frequent visitors to the nectar that these flowers provide.

Thanks guys.

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