#30DaysWild No. 30. Contemplating the weeds

Fox and cub flowers and selfheal - colourful 'weeds' we appreciate at Wheatland Farm

It’s the last day of this year’s #30DaysWild, and it should time time for #TheTimeIsNow mass lobby of MPs. That may well be so, but sadly our MP Geoffrey Cox is ‘too busy’ to hear our thoughts on climate and biodiversity crises…

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#30DaysWild 29: A bicycle re-made for two

Shows a tandem bike at Wheatland Farm's workshop, undergoing repairs

For #30DaysWild we’re renovating the tandem, and other bikes guests at the eco lodges can borrow this summer… and noting down some ideas for really local Devon excursions you can try (once the handlebars are back on).

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#30DaysWild 28: The Mini Ponds

Shows foxgloves on the mound dug out for a mini pond by Beech Lodge at Wheatland Farm

Back in July 2018 we dug some new mini ponds at Wheatland Farm – one to take the waste Hot Tub water from Beech Lodge, some just to provide some new habitat. This time last year for #30DaysWild we were looking at their progress, and we thought we’d do the same again in 2020.

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#30DaysWild 27: Biological Recording

Kim amidst flowers on Popehouse Moor SSSI at Wheatland Farm, Devon

For #30DaysWild today we’re housekeeping in both senses, catching up on Wheatland Farm’s biological recording but also getting the eco lodges ready for the July reopening.

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#30DaysWild 26: Al fresco scones

Shows a teenage boy, sat in the orchard at Wheatland Farm, holding out a plate of scones

The last Friday in June is National Cream Tea Day, apparently. Some things are really important, and deserve a national celebration… All we need to to is make it a bit wild so it works as our Random Act of Wildness for the day.

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#30DaysWild 25: Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Shows stationary hummingbird hawkmoth at Wheatland Farm

We only see one or two hummingbird hawkmoths a year at Wheatland Farm’s eco lodges, so it was nice to spot one close enough to photograph. Having said that, to understand why they’re so striking you really need to see them flying – they are easily mistaken for a tiny humming bird.

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#30DaysWild 22: Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly

Shows a silver washed fritillary butterfly basking on willow herb at Wheatland Farm, Devon

We were delighted to find a Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly on the brambles at Wheatland Farm today – it was our wild moment for #30DaysWild No. 22.

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#30DaysWild: 20 Cows Return To Wheatland Farm

Shows an old fashioned Devon tractor pulling a trailer through a wooded lane

For today’s #30DaysWild we welcomed the cows back to Wheatland Farm for their summer grazing on our Devon culm grassland and Popehouse Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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#30DaysWild 18: Identifying moths

Shows speckled yellow moth on bramble at Wheatland Farm

On a wet day, our wild action is just to look up some moths we’ve recently spotted around the eco lodges, like this ‘speckled yellow’, above. These are moths we happened upon, but we’d also like to do some moth trapping over the summer with guests.

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#30DaysWild 17 Tending Our Living Wall

Trimming the living wall at Otter Cottage, Wheatland Farm, Devon

Ian has been tending our ‘green living wall’ – the ivy cladding the outside of Otter Cottage. Every so often we have to keep it out of the eaves and away from the barge boards, requiring long ladders and makeshift PPE.

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#30DaysWild 15: A Local 6km Run

Shows a woodland in Hollocombe

#30DaysWild 15: Ian went running, starting from the eco lodges and heading down into Hollocombe. He has mapped out a simple 6km route with a section through the woods along a bridle path. Going down the road into Hollocombe and back up again gives it a bit of a gradient in it, but maybe that’s an excuse to have a bit of a walk…

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#30DaysWild 14 An unexpected orchid

Image shows a heath spotted orchid growing near the wildlife pond at Wheatland Farm

We’re claiming a small success for #30DaysWild today: this orchid has appeared by the wildlife pond, at the edge of the mown path. It’s the first one we’ve found at Wheatland Farm that’s not growing on Popehouse Moor SSSI.

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#30DaysWild 13: Wild strawberries

Today’s wild treat was wild strawberries to top a cake. We encourage wild strawberries around the eco lodges on our Devon farm as they are good food for birds. But this scattering actually came from our own garden.

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#30DaysWild No. 12 Planning to lobby our MP

Last year Maggie joined The Time Is Now mass lobby of MPs about the dual climate and biodiversity crises. This year the lobby is going virtual. Wheatland Farm’s Random Act of Wildness for the day was to sign up for the 30th June event. Will you do the same?

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#30DaysWild No 11. A kingfisher Visits The Eco Lodges

Image shows a young kingfisher sitting on the ground at Wheatland Farm

Kingfishers are occasional and much loved visitors to Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges. But we’ve never seen a young bird, until….

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#30DaysWild 10: The Turbine Walk

shows a stretch of the turbine walk at Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Spring has sprung up on Wheatland Farm turbine walk, and it has got severely overgrown. So for today’s Random Act of Wildness we took the mower out and cut it back so it’s ready when our lovely guests return to the eco lodges in a few weeks.

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#30DaysWild 9. Explore the Exe Estuary by Boat

Today’s Random Act of Wildness was to take time off to kayak the Exe Estuary. And since it’s a fun thing to do if you’re staying at Wheatland Farm this summer, here’s a bit more information.

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#30DaysWild No. 8 Amazing weeds!

Shows hawkbit flowering amid dry grass at Wheatland Farm, Devon

It’s really just a pic for #30DaysWild today – a picture of these vibrant and beautiful ‘weeds’ in amongst the dried out grass. They are some kind of hawkbit, but there are so many….

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#30DaysWild No. 7 Pheasants

Shows a pheasant in grassland at Wheatland Farm, Devon

Beautiful aren’t they, and a common sight around the eco lodges. But should pheasants really be here, where do they come from, and are they damaging native British wildlife? For today’s #30DaysWild we’ve been taking a moment to think about pheasants…

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#30DaysWild No. 5 Sinks And Stones

Shows Ian digging in the Wheatland Farm Lodge Field

We’re incorporating some rocky habitat into a new outdoor hand washing point we’re putting in the lodge field. We’re using old metal tree guards as ‘gabions’ that we’ll fill with rocks and stone, and a recycled steel sink. Here’s Ian breaking the ground, so we can secure the gabions properly.

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#30DaysWild No 4. Blue Tits In A Gate Post

Image of blue tits in a gatepost nest at Wheatland Farm's Devon Eco Lodges

Today’s Random Act of Wildness is to top up the mealworms we put out for the birds. It’s an important food source at the moment because parents are struggling to feed their broods – like this one. But just look where these blue tits chose to nest!

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#30DaysWild 2. Dragonflies egg laying at the pond

Male emperor dragonfly at Wheatland Farm's wildlife pond

A few days ago we posted about Broad Bodied Chasers emerging at the wildlife pond below Balebarn Eco Lodge. Now the place is humming with dragonflies.

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#30DaysWild 1. Southern March Orchids

Image of a southern marsh orchid at Wheatland Farm, Devon

It’s that time again – June is when the Wildlife Trusts run their 30 Days Wild campaign, challenging us all to do something for nature every day of the month. So today at Wheatland Farm we’ve been checking up on special flowers.

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