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The Welney Website

Pates Farm Walk

page created June 2006, amended/updated Saturday, 18 October 2014
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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.
"The 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. My neighbour and I did see a Kingfisher darting along this stretch on Friday evening so keep alert

The 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.

Once you 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.

As you 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.

You 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."


Ken Goodger & family
The walk described above was one of the attractions at the Farm Open Day on Sunday 10th June 2006. See report & photo gallery.
farming pages on this website
farming in the old days 1880-1980
farming today
Pates Farm
Pates Farm open day June 2006
Pates Farm open-day walk
Farming Diaries by Ken Goodger
White Hall Farm & Farmhouse
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