Winter Animals and Festive Fun

Winter Animals and Festive Fun

Our Lincoln Red cattle have settled well into the crews for the winter. Nearly all of the cows are pregnant and we are expecting the first calves to be born in January. They are all healthy and enjoying being under shelter. They didn’t seem to mind the cold, wet weather outdoors but are extremely content in their new dwellings at Keal and Manor Farm.

We currently have around 600 sheep grazing on our grassland. These nibblers will certainly tidy up the Estate and enjoy some lush grass. Unfortunately, they might not still be with us in the grasslands for the lambing season.

Our Lincoln Red cattle in
their winter home

There are around 600 sheep grazing
on the grassland at the moment

The pheasants that are around the Estate continue to amuse us. They come and sit on the top of the walls around the Walled Garden and attempt to pinch food from the bird feeding station. We do keep these feeding stations topped up, especially over the winter months as food becomes more scarce for the birds. There have been robins sighted on more than one occasion but they seem to disappear instantaneously whenever anyone reaches for the camera.

A few weeks ago, RammSanderson managed to get some good footage of a large nocturnal bat on the Estate. It was a Nyctalus genus bat, which was more than likely a Noctule. These are some of the largest bats in the UK with a wingspan of 32-40cm. The calls from the bats are audible to those with good hearing too.  They emerge before dark and in the summer, they often hunt with swifts and swallows and are easily mistaken for these birds.

Here is the Bat Conservation Trust’s link to their factsheet page on all UK species for more information –

The video taken by RammSanderson
of the bat on the Estate

Preparations were carried out to ensure that the Church was ready for the Christmas Eve Carol Service.  This is always a popular service with the community and it always gets everyone in the festive spirit.

The staff too were busy getting ready for Christmas. Several of the staff have gone away for the festive period. Skiing and visiting relatives in America are some of their Christmas plans whilst others are enjoying a traditional Lincolnshire Wolds’ Christmas.

Leanne organised for the staff Christmas party in Skegness to be an active event. It started off with a trip to the bowling alley and the two games showed off the staff’s competitive spirit. After a short walk to Wolfie’s Wine Bar, a three-course meal completed the festivities and with a bus home,  it ensured that no one had to go without a festive glass of wine or two and a good time was had by all! Jacqui, our Housekeeper, regaled us stories of how the Squire used to have an annual Christmas tea for staff and former staff as well, including Kathleen Brown, who is a 103-year-old former housemaid from the Estate. This is where Jacqui first got to know Kathleen.

One of the pheasants trying to
get food from the feeding station

The collection of hippos in front of
the portrait of the former Squire

Our collection of hippos is expanding. Apparently, the Squire was affectionately known as ‘Hippo’ by some of his Godchildren, and so there were a couple of hippos gifted with the Hall. We have now acquired a few more and are always on the lookout for more quirky versions to add to the collection.