Nature Reserves

Breathing spaces

Vines are a permanent monoculture crop and whilst we think our vineyards are lovely, filled with wild flowers, grasses, a good spot for bees and a joy to behold, they are still monocultures with mown alleys and headlands. For balance, we have actively tried to make space for more natural spaces in the shady corners where we wouldn’t plant vines and around the natural rain fed ponds where we couldn’t plant vines. These are our breathing spaces, our small but important nature reserves.

At Lakestreet the most important break between the fields is Rob’s Wood. Rob’s Wood is a young woodland that was planted beside the mature trees which shade the pond completely by the family that owned and farmed the land before us. It’s as much a reminder of timeless stewardship as a lovely coppice in its own right.

It’s a mix of native trees: hawthorns, amelanchier, birch, oak, rowan, hazel and alder with the large pond fringed with bulrushes and scrub-willow at its heart.¬† We’ve cleared shoulder-high brambles from amongst the trees letting wild grasses grow and seed and encouraging wild flowers to colonise. We let the annuals and perennials set seed before mowing once a year. This gives us a woodland glade that is refreshing to look at, shady on a warm afternoon and a useful wind break that, happily, shields some of the vines from the brisker winds.

Pig’s pond is a deep-set, slightly smaller pond, with a precipitous drop from the High Field above it. This pond is left entirely wild, with brambled banks providing sanctuary and food for wildlife.

Both ponds reflect the underlying geology with thin soil layers over near-surface sandstone beds.

At Hobdens¬† we let the steep side ghyll that cuts across the bottom of the vineyard run wild. It’s wild by intentional neglect. If a tree falls, we leave it on the ground to provide for insects, when it’s safe to do so.¬† The fringing hazel is coppiced every five or six years to ensure cold air can free-flow out of the vineyard and because it keeps the hazel in good heart but that’s all we do. It’s left to its own natural devices.