Carymarsh Nature Reserve, Orchard Farm, Somerset
Somerset has a wide variety of natural habitats, but you don’t have to go far from the cottages to enjoy nature. We have created a small wetland nature reserve on the farm, just a short walk from the cottages, where you can enjoy nature from the comfort of a small hide. Carymarsh is a lovely place to visit, especially in the early morning or evening, when you never know what might turn up. We have watched foxes at twilight and roe deer wandering past the hide, and although we haven’t yet seen badgers we know they are frequent visitors from the prominent ‘badger paths’ crossing the reserve and the footprints they leave in the mud.
Carymarsh is also home to a wide variety of birds, fish, amphibians and insects. Mallards, coots, moorhens, dabchicks, swans, egrets and herons are some of the more easily seen water birds, but more unusual species like kingfishers, sandpipers, water-rails and many species of waterfowl are often seen. Grass-snakes, dragonflies, and butterflies are easily seen from spring though to autumn.
Next to the wetland we are creating a small woodland, although to be truthful as this was only planted during the past two winters much of this area is currently a forest of tree-guards! Each year we plant a 1 hectare glade in the woodland with winter bird forage to provide food for farmland birds. As a result huge mixed flocks of species like tree sparrows, yellowhammers, reed buntings, chaffinches and others abound in the winter months. We put out supplementary seed near the hide, making it an excellent venue for bird photography.
Despite the relatively small size of our nature reserve, we seem to attract more than our share of rarities; purple heron, marsh harrier and corn buntings are just a few of the birds to have visited us, and we are hoping that our tree sparrow population will increase over time.
Dave & Helen Boyer, Orchard Farm, Coopers Ash Lane, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NY
Tel 01963 350418