It’s hard to pinpoint when Spring changes to Summer – it certainly has nothing to do with the date!
Stepping outside in the morning is like walking into Summer. Hareley Farm is a traditional farm, managed in much the same way for centuries, and the benefit to wildlife is most apparent at this time of year. Our guests enjoy the beautiful views across the valley, the peace broken only by countless birds singing in the woods and fields. The air is filled with the scent of wild honeysuckle and new mown hay and newly fledged birds, from woodpeckers to collared doves, are sitting on fences and branches, waiting patiently for their parent birds to feed them.
The lambs are growing away well and will be weaned from the ewes after shearing. The incubator is running all the time, with boxes of rare breed chicks under infra red lamps in the farmhouse. They will be transferred to warm coops under cover as soon as their down begins to be replaced by feathers and the boxes cleaned out ready for the next batch.
The fields are alive with butterflies, especially those closed up for haymaking. Haymaking needs at least three very hot, dry and preferably windy days, to reduce the moisture content of the grass to the right level for storage through Winter. Hay can be made in less favourable conditions but takes much longer and isn’t of such high quality. Once it’s turned, rowed up and baled we work through the evening to get it stacked in the barn before the next rainfall.
There are so many fetes, shows and village events in the County in Summer you could probably sample a Victoria sponge cake in every parish by the end of August. Guests this year have also enjoyed visiting the three nearby National Trust properties of Brockhampton, Berrington Hall and Croft Castle, as well as Eastnor Castle and Hampton Court (even older than Henry VIII’s castle on the Thames). The Black-and-White Village Trail is particularly beautiful at this time of year, with many excellent inns and craft galleries to visit on the route.