Accessible self-catering holiday cottage in Northumberland
Situated at Bingfield near Hexham Northumberland
Encouraging wildlife at the Hytte
Of all the measures we undertake as part of our commitment to Green Tourism, encouraging (and watching) wildlife is the one we enjoy the most.
The Hytte is set in 1.35 acres of grounds, part of which is lawn/playfield and the rest is managed as an area to encourage wildlife. Until late 2005 this area was an arable field, intensely growing barley or wheat and a relatively poor wildlife habitat.
Map of the grounds
The Butterfly Avenue; is an extensive collection, comprising 17 varieties of Buddleja (butterfly) bushes. These varieties flower from May until November as well as looking spectacular they attract bees, butterflies and other insects.
A seat is available for you to "sit a while" and enjoy. See how many different kinds of butterflies and bees you can spot. There are nature books available to help you identify them.
Wildflower Meadow; We have been working with Shaun Hackett from Northumberland National Park to create a Small wildflower meadow, we started this in Autumn 2008 and despite dull summers have been rewarded with wildflowers galore buzzing with bees, butterflies and insects.
Wildlife area; This area around the tree's is left to nature and supports what we would normally term weeds including nettles, thistles, rosebay willow herb and many species of long grasses. Creating an ideal area to support insects, amphibians, small mammals and birds including Tawny and Barn Owls who you hear most nights when they are about hunting. We have planted 100m of Beech hedging and 1,000 trees creating screening and shelter as well as nesting sites for hedgerow birds.
A week after the Hytte was finished (April 1996) a pair of swallows started nesting on our bathroom vent pipe; the plant pot saucer round the pipe does an excellent job of catching any mess!
We have created a "Bug Hotel" for over wintering insects such as lacewings, ladybirds, butterflies, bees and other insects, made using recycled wooden pallets, broken bricks, straw stuffed plant pots, and rolls of corrugated card in plastic bottles.
COST = nil.
We leave piles of rotting wood to encourage 'mini beasts', small mammals, frogs and toads.
Our waste water is dealt with sustainably using a reed bed; this has now matured and is surrounded by bulrushes, flag iris, rosebay willow herb and thistles.
All loved by finches and seed eating birds. And provides a moist environment especially enjoyed by toads.
We have built several nest boxes; this one was made by recycling an electric cable reel and has been home to a family of sparrows. The other was made from scraps of timber used to construct the Hytte and has supported a family of Coal Tits.
Just two years after this field stopped intensely growing wheat or barley we made a discovery we were not expecting;
An Orchid! Granted just a Common Orchid but still a jewel of a wildflower.
This has shown us that if you provide the simplest of things and leave an area to grow a little wild you will be rewarded with an abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna.
Our aim for this year with help from our guests is to monitor our wildlife and record what we have encouraged to live in or visit the grounds and sit back and enjoy it.