Saturday, 8 February 2014

Beeswax Farming (Rainbow) Ltd

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.


  1. Interesting to hear how Beeswax are aiming to improve the estate land for wildlife. Overwintering stubble fields are obviously a good way of encouraging finch flocks. Significantly also there is no mention in the report of the possible wind farm which would almost certainly have an adverse effect on the wildlife, initially in terms of disturbance of birds etc and some destruction of habitat in the construction phase, and then the on going risk of bird casualties through collision with the wind turbines, over a 25 year period.

  2. I just did some quick research as I was also interested in empirical scientific data on bird strikes at wind farms in Europe. The quick answer: between 1 and 40 per turbine, independent of size.

  3. Lincoln Edge I have not yet looked at your link, but there are numerous articles on the net relating to bird strikes. You can't generalise because a lot depends where wind turbines are sited. Large birds of prey like eagles are particularly vulnerable, especially on migration routes or in breeding areas. Because eagles are long lived, but have a much lower reproductive rate than smaller birds the loss of even one or adult birds can be serious.
    The bird experts who do surveys for wind farms use a very sophisticated and highly technical method for determining collision risks. You can see these kind of data on environmental impact assessments for wind farms, but they mean very little to the ordinary layman. In terms of Nocton Fen it is birds of prey, swans, golden plover flocks etc. that I would say are most at risk from bird strikes. A few years ago Marsh Harriers with their sky dancing display flights would have certainly been at risk, and it was one of the reasons for RES not progressing with a wind farm application 10 years ago.
    Sadly it seems that different, new ways of farming Nocton Fen, have had an adverse effect on Marsh Harriers choosing to nest on the fen.

  4. For Lincoln Edge and anyone else who reads the blog, it is worth looking at the following article concerning the effect of wind turbines on birds:-
    If you type it in exactly as above it should bring up the relevant web page.


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