We’re very lucky, with our location, to be surrounded by such an array of wildlife at Barnsgate. We see all kinds of creatures such as Muntjacs, pheasants, deer, and a resident buzzard. However, we’ve recently had a new addition to our grounds in rather an unlikely space.
We have discovered that a nest has been made in one of our wall bins for a blue tit and her chicks. If you have been watching Springwatch then you may have recently seen their live feed of a nest hatching and fledging. Ours are some rather late bloomers as they tend to lay their eggs in April or early May and fledge within 3 weeks.
Man-made spaces are often their favourite to nest in. So really we shouldn’t be surprised as our bin offers the perfect space to hide away in. We’re making sure to keep a watchful eye on the mother so that we know she hasn’t been frightened away by any people.
If you haven’t been to us before and you are interested in the local wildlife, Barnsgate really is a fantastic spot to check out. People are often greeted by the buzzard as they go down our drive and we have the forest right next door to spot them in their natural habitat. (I have blogged about the route I would recommend before, you can find it here). Of course, after any adventuring you get up to, you are welcome to join us for a cup of tea and cake!
The trail around Poundgate is one of those walks and it is right on Barnsgate’s doorstep. I mentioned a little bit about the history of Barnsgate in my last post. I talked about how the Ashdown Forest was almost exclusively for members of the Royal Family as a hunting ground. However, the common folk were allowed to let their livestock graze on the land permitting they entered the forest through one of its 32 Gates and Hatches. One would assume that the name “Poundgate” was derived from this history as a name the common folk had given this particular Gate.
The walk itself is through mostly dense woods with but a few clearings. It can be as long or as short a walk as you wish to make it, with paths darting off in every direction taking you to a different part of the woodland yet to be explored.
When you reach the clearing, you will be able to see in the distance, Kings Standing Clump which is another fantastic walk altogether with the most brilliant views. You would have to cross the road but, of course, there is a path that will also take you to that part of the forest.
As you reach the side closest to Barnsgate, you are likely to notice a field through the trees. If you carry on along that fenceline you will notice a gap in the trees that gives you the full view of our Llama field. I managed to capture a picture of two of our Llamas today! (Ian and Kronk pictured below!).
Here are some of the pictures I got of my walk around Poundgate:
As I mentioned before, the walk can be as long or as short as you make it. It’s a perfect route to take the kids and the dog with so much to be seen. Although it is blissfully quiet, it almost seems a shame that a lot of people have not yet ventured to this side of the forest. We have a huge car park available right next to the gate so come along, bring the kids, and you are more than welcome to join us for a drink and something to eat afterwards! Let us know if you do explore this part of the forest. We would love for you to share your pictures!
Barnsgate Manor house has been around for 500 years. The Ashdown Forest used to be a Royal Hunting Ground and home to deer which could only be hunted by members of the Royal Family. In order to keep the deer in, the Ashdown Forest was surrounded by a ditch and bank (the soil from the ditch used to make up the bank) that was called “The Pale”. The “common” people were allowed to let their animals graze on the forest, but could only gain entry via one of 32 Gates and Hatches that made up the Old Forest Pale. Originally, Barnsgate was one of the Gates onto the Ashdown Forest. It was also a farm.
In the 1970s the German, family-run, Wine Company PIEROTH utilised the site as an outlet for their wines.
The current owner purchased the vineyard in 1989 as a retirement venue. Barnsgate Manor is a venue steeped in history providing jobs and experience to members of the local communities and serving our customer’s great food in a splendid setting.
You can book a table at our manor house restaurant through this link
I’m talking about the Barnsgate Llamas! You may or may not have known that we have eight llamas all residing in comfort at the top of our drive, but as of late they have been making themselves known by bounding majestically to the fence line to greet random passers-by.
You may catch one of our majestic, fluffy friends galloping full pelt to the top of our grass mound with their head flailing all over the place… just so that they can have their picture taken.
They truly are living the high life. They have everything they could want with two different types of highly nutritional llama food with lashings of syrup, fresh vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, they even have a paddling pool for those days when the weather is hot and a llama has to cool themselves down.
It may surprise you to know, Barnsgate Manor has always had llamas. Even from the beginning over 25 years ago. With access to three different paddocks, the llamas have always been hard to spot. However, since the new shelter has been finished, the llamas have very much enjoyed the warmth that it provides and have made themselves at home in the first paddock.
Why not come and say hello? Their names are Kronk, Spit, Ian, Patrick, Bright Eyes, Tina, Fitch and Llama Croft. (All appropriately named by the kitchen staff that keep them fed up with veggies!) . See if you can guess who is who! It won’t cost you anything and the restaurant will be available for you to grab a bite to eat while you’re there!