One of the best things I like about living in the Blackburne Valley is its closeness to nature. By that I don’t just mean the sheep gently munching away at the grass, the Shire horses opposite or the rabbits that share their field. Crabtree Barn is in its wildlife corridor and unsurprisingly there is a huge variety of wildlife to be seen. It is not unusual to see deer with their fawns ambling through the field below us, gently nibbling on a few bits of fauna here and there, although we do have to usher them out of the garden when they leap in for a quick snack!

We also see foxes, just having a look at the neighbouring farm’s chickens, and herons too as they fly back towards their nest or even better, treat us to one of their funny walks in the field. As I drive down our country lanes I have to watch out for the small stoats dashing across in front of me. They rush out very quickly and are often gone before I’ve even realised that I’ve seen them.

The bird feeders have all the usual regulars: Robins, blue tits, goldfinches, sparrows, wrens and much more. But also I especially love watching the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers as they feed and the Nuthatches as they comically walk backwards up the feeder to get a better angle at the food. Keeping the bird feeders squirrel-proof is a task in itself! Then there are the bigger birds, the jackdaws that dominate Crabtree Barn’s rooftops, the jays and the collared doves. My favourites though are the kestrels, hovering majestically as they look for mice amongst the long grass.

Night time brings its own dimension. We are blessed with little light pollution where we are, so on a cloud-free night all the stars are clearly visible to see. It’s a great chance to brush up on your star constellations. There’s even a guide book in the barn bookshelves to help you. Even when there is cloud cover it is still worth taking a few minutes to listen to all the noises coming from the woods below. The owls and the jays are the noisiest and working out which animal is making which noises is a puzzle in itself.

Living at Glen Hey, where Crabtree Barn is based, is living in an animal wonderland and a real haven for all our furry and feathered friends!

Wayne Harris

Owner | Crabtree Barn