Future of the Nocton Estate
Robert Hall attended the Parish Council meeting on 4th February to update residents about the Nocton Estate.
The last visit to the Parish Council was about a year ago and much has happened over the last 12 months with a large expansion of the company. Beeswax has continued to acquire farmland as a long term investment for Sir James Dyson.
A number of farms have been brought together and are now under a single management and are being operated as one entity. The main aim is to manage this land as a working farm, growing crops, providing green energy (via the anaerobic digester), caring for the environment, being good landowners and operating with integrity. The farms have been purchased to farm 'in hand' not to be sub-let to tenant farmers.
Drainage of the Estate has received much attention. Water flows from Nocton Heath down through the village and 'Nocton Middle', out to Nocton Fen. Nocton Middle has been somewhat neglected over the years and these waterways have now been cleared allowing a much better flow of water from the land, reducing the risk of flooding/water logging. Much is being done to improve the farmland, soil structure and fertility. The primary objective is to get the farm running properly. Much attention is being given to environmental stewardship, with 6 metre 'buffer strips' against waterways, where no chemicals or sprays will be used. Pollen and nectar plots, wildbird covers and overwintered stubbles will be used to promote wildlife. There are 600 acres of woodland which are now receiving attention and being managed properly to provide habitat for wildlife and sustain the life of the flora and fauna. You might have seen the sheep in the ridge and furrow fields, keeping the grass to a manageable level and control the thistles and ragwort.
Finally, good partnerships have been formed with local firms, Munks Agricultural Contractors Ltd, Winchester Growers Ltd and Branston Engineering. Winchester Growers Ltd are currently applying for planning permission to erect poly tunnels on Nocton Fen, if successful with planning permission WG will then make a business proposal to Beeswax Farming.