Another bat survey gets underway

April is when the bats really start being seen around Wheatland Farm – and we’ve booked another bat survey as part of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project.

Not that we have Greater Horseshoes – we don’t really have the habitat for them, but we do have at least 9 species on the farm, and others are known from nearby. And this is a general survey for bats, even if Greater Horseshoes are the lead act.

Ian picked up the pack from Crediton yesterday, and we put up the microphone on Popehouse Moor SSSI.
Our Easter holiday guests came to lend a hand – and then got stuck in the mud. We had to come back with a spade and excavate the wellie…

Ian digs a welly out of the mud at Wheatland Farm's Devon eco lodges.

The last two bat surveys have been near the big Wheatland Farm wildlife pond.
This time we thought we’d try somewhere slightly different, down near the ‘magic pond’ to be close to woodlands, water and all the insects that live in the culm grassland

The 2018 bat survey was in September, and the one before that was in April 2017. Of course we’re always hoping for more species. But it can take a while for the result to come back, so we’ll have to be patient. More on this later then.

Sunshine and Butterflies

The blue skies have brought out more buttterflies around the eco lodges. Peacocks are already out of hibernation, we’ve seen a comma, and those heralds of Devon’s spring, the organge tip butterflies, are on the wing again.

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Cake to celebrate that the swallows are back

Fantastic! The swallows are back around Wheatland Farm’s Devon eco lodges, so it’s time for the annual celebration cake – baked when the first swallow of summer is seen actually at the farm.

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Baby bunnies

Easter has come early to Wheatland Farm. There are bunnies everywhere. One baby bunny spent a morning last week hanging around the farmhouse back door and ocassionally trying to jump through the glass. Today, we found a youngster in the turbine room – Wheatland Farm’s wet weather ‘garden/coffee room’. Here are a couple of clips. Spring has sprung!

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Fun 40 mile ride – your Wheatland Farm holiday challenge!

Now that we’re a bit fitter (but also feeling a bit older…) we thought we’d update our pages on cycling to Barnstaple along Devon’s Tarka Trail. It’s about a 40 mile round ride, and includes a train journey part of the way back to Wheatland Farm.

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More bumblebees enjoying spring sunshine

Already, a bumbling bumblebee is less of a rare first sign of spring and more something to expect around the lodges when the March weather gives us some sunshine. Today, two species were out and about, enjoying the pollen on the willow trees at Wheatland Farm.

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A Half Term Red Admiral Butterfly!

Another gorgeous sunny half term day has brought this red admiral butterfly out of hibernation. Sometimes we find these lovely butterflies tucked up in the woodshed, or under the eaves of the lodges. This one has found some early blossom to fuel up on. There’s not much around in February, but every little helps.

First bumble bees of 2019

It’s always a landmark when the first signs of spring come to Wheatland Farm. Today, two queen bumble bees, buff tailed bumble bees we think, were foraging on the snow drops behind the farm house. Lovely to see in the sunshine!

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A Luxurious Lunch at the Mason’s Arms

Fancy a fancy lunch? The Michellin Star rated Mason’s Arms, at Knowstone, is about 18 miles from Wheatland Farm. You’ll find a warm and unpretentious welcome and excellent food.

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A Snowy Dash Around Wheatland Farm

A snow day – George took a mad dash around the lodges with his GoPro and shot this short video. There was enough snow for a couple of snow men too. Doesn’t look like it’s going to last though…

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Huge thanks for helping us raise money for the Devon Wildlife Trust

We’ve been totting up all those five pounds we give to the Devon Wildlife Trust for everyone who pays their Wheatland Farm holiday balance by BACS. And there’s a cheque in the post for £340.

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Crediton repair cafe in action again

Ian was at the Crediton Repair Cafe again this Saturday – fixing everything from radios (a treasured old style transistor radio, brought in all the way from Torquay!), a sewing machine peddle, a band saw, a nut chopper (pictured, with a happy owner), a telephoto lens. There were also clothes and curtains getting some attention, other electronics, such as a hand blender, and some tools like pruning saws etc.

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Conservation work starts again

The New Year starts as we mean to go on at Wheatland Farm! Getting out there and looking after the Devon countryside. Today’s job was clearing ‘brash’ from near Honeysuckle Lodge

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Our Devon Christmas

Season’s greetings to one and all – we hope you’re having a great break whether you’re staying at Wheatland Farm or anywhere else! We’ve already said goodby to one set of guests, and hello to the New Year visitors. Such a lovely time to get generations together from around the country for a family gathering. Of course, a winter walk or two, and even a trip to the beach (To admire the pebbles? Not to swim, surely…) is essential, and what Wheatland Farm Christmas would be complete without a moment of contemplation at ‘the big tree‘ at Eggesford.

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Crediton Repair Cafe

[Ian] It was the Crediton Repair Cafe today. So I spent the morning helping fix things – something I’m very familar with, from keeping the lodges and the cottage  in good  order at Wheatland FarmContinue reading “Crediton Repair Cafe”

A Glorious Day to Remember

A Glorious Devon Day! Sometimes November is truly stunning. If only we could guaruntee fabulous days all month. And today is the eleventh of the eleventh, Armistice Day 100 years on from the end of WW1. Continue reading “A Glorious Day to Remember”

The bat survey is back

The second Wheatland Farm bat survey is back. We’re definitely up to 9 species, and possibly more. So keep your eyes peeled. We’re pretty sure bats roost in the roofs of some of the eco lodges (don’t worry, they won’t come in!). Continue reading “The bat survey is back”

Winter birds are back…

November, not our favourite month, but at least the birds come to Wheatland Farm’s bird feeders. Goldfinch are frequent visitors and today marsh tit and coal tit joined the more common blue and great tits. Even better than that, woodcock are back on Popehouse Moor SSSI (in Devon we only see them in winter). Continue reading “Winter birds are back…”

Reed buntings at the wildlife pond

During storm Callum, the phragmites at the main wildlife pond got a bit knocked about. They’re still standing – and one benefit is that the reed buntings are easier to spot now.  Continue reading “Reed buntings at the wildlife pond”

Wildlife up close and personal!

If you sit still, southern hawker dragonflies at the edge of the Wheatland Farm wildlife pond might come and buzz you! Maggie was trying out a new mobile phone camera when Ian took this clip. Continue reading “Wildlife up close and personal!”

Kestrel hunting in front of Balebarn Lodge

Sometimes you only see things for a few seconds, but they are still fabulous – like this kestrel pausing on the wires before dropping down in front of Balebarn Lodge at Wheatland Farm. The bird’s flight control far outpaces our camera control, but all the same, you get a glimpse. Awesome! Continue reading “Kestrel hunting in front of Balebarn Lodge”

Don’t miss the Pottery if you’re in Hatherleigh

In Hatherleigh, maybe for those famous brownies and coffee? Don’t forget to check out the Hatherleigh Pottery, in its charming courtyard. You’ll find lovely hand thrown ceramics and a friendly welcome. You might come away with a treat! Continue reading “Don’t miss the Pottery if you’re in Hatherleigh”

Apple pressing for juice and cider

It’s a bumper year for apples at Wheatland Farm – we have so many some of the branches are breaking off the trees. So we spent a day pressing some for juice and possibly cider (or that bit could go horribly wrong – we should know by early 2019!). Continue reading “Apple pressing for juice and cider”