This walk was specifically for visitors to the "Farm Sunday" open-day at Pates Farm in June
2006. The land is private and not open to the public, so please do not attempt the walk now.
The following information is from the Goodger family's information leaflets
produced for their farm open day in June 2006.
walk starts where the entrance track crosses the river; the river is the
Old Croft and is a natural river that was much wider before the fens were
drained in the 1700's. You can see that the farm house and buildings are
built on the old bank and that the garden and pond area were once river.
All the vegetation in and around the pond grew naturally after it had been
dug so many seeds etc had lain dormant for over 300 years. The walk
follows the eastern bank of the old croft and runs alongside a wheat
field. There is much wildlife to see along this stretch if not disturbed.
The family of swans is often seen and they spend much time in the field
near the pond, ducks Moorhens and coots all live and breed on the river.
There are also many water vole habitats along this stretch and their
workings can be seen at along the bank side at the waters edge and you may
sometimes hear them splash or plop underwater as you disturb them.
Pheasants and partridge use the grass strip along the bank edge and will
often be seen.
neighbour and I did see a Kingfisher darting along this stretch on Friday
evening so keep alert
river does contain fish and small ones can often be seen when the water is
clear. Many other small insects and mammals also live in the grass strips
and in the water. Dragon
flies are very popular and many different types can be seen at the waters
edge and around the pond area on sunny days.
reach the crossing over the river you cross this for the main walk or can
carry on around the wheat field which runs round by the main road and back
to the farm track for a shorter route. The main walk now enters the
chamomile field and you will smell the aroma as your feet crush the leaves
of the small plants. The walk follows the field edge and you may hear reed
warblers who habitat the dykes around the fields, often difficult to see
but you may be lucky as the skip from reed to reed. Across to the southern
side of the field as you start to round the corner is a field of beans
which you may catch the aroma as they are in flower.
leave the chamomile you come to a 3 acre field of potatoes which are Maris
Piper and are destined for McCains, you then follow through close to the
ditch and turn through a field of peppermint, you may come across one of
the farms 5 brown hares which have increased in numbers over the last few
seasons due to better habitats during the winter for them. The herbs which
are perennial crops provide cover for many animals and birds during winter
and protect them from predators. Skylarks
should be heard in this area and we have many breeding pairs on this farm
following a survey last summer. This is also due to the herbs. Try to spot
them as they soar skyward in full song.
then turn right along a short part of farm track and then cross what looks
like a bare field but is in fact a peppermint planted area using plant
roots to see if this method of propagation will work. You then turn across
another chamomile field and head back to the main yard. Swallows often
swoop across here to feed on insects and finches, pied and yellow wagtails
use theses fields to feed on weed seeds and small insects etc."