It must be well over a year since I was last at Parke – I used to work there as the National Trust’s General Manager for Dartmoor. I met up for a quick chat with a few of my old colleagues – good to see them.
My main purpose was to meet with Kevin Bishop, the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Chief Executive and Ali Kohler, the DNPA’s Director of Conservation and Communities to talk about my PhD and get some ideas and feedback from them. Very helpful.
Parke – looking across the parkland to Bovey Tracey
The snowdrops and cultivated daffodils are in full flower
Great to see one of the Moor Otter sculptures in the main reception – you will, I expect, hear a lot more about these when we get to the summer – see here for more details – there are going to be 100 of them (all different) dotted around the National Park later in the year
On the way home I drove down the Teign Valley and stopped to photograph the wild daffodils that are beginning to flower in profusion – those in full sunlight were flowering – those in shade will need a couple more weeks
Also got to see the hazel catkins in full flower – I love it when they turn yellow
Yesterday was my last day with the National Trust after 18 years as a Property Manager at Wicken Fen and General Manager on Dartmoor
This little converted barn has been my office along with several other members of the team
It has been very cosy with its log burner and Vespa the Vizsla
There was even a lovely double rainbow yesterday
And here is my computer screen showing my Outlook email account – no emails left in my inbox!
I will miss my friends and colleagues and I am sure we will keep in touch.
Love the National Trust too but its time for a change
I spent a few minutes yesterday looking around the Walled Garden at Parke. It is a very different place now that winter has come but nevertheless it is not completely asleep or dormant. There is always something interesting going on which reflects the place and the world we live in.
On the outside – looking in
Looking down from the former ‘sun trap’ corner across the Walled Garden with the vineyard in the foreground and the vegetable plots in the distance
The vines – a few leaves left but essentially bedding down and waiting for spring
The leeks are however in full flow – how many of these will be on a Christmas Day plate?
Chard – if only it tasted as good as it looks
Preparation is everything
I fear these figs have mistimed their appearance – the result of a hugely mild autumn stretching into November – the mildest on record
I’ve even got fruiting strawberries in my garden – they are green and will stay so before they disappear …. unless ….
Parke’s apple press emerged from storage yesterday and was assembled – in a couple of week’s time it will be in action pressing the estate’s apple harvest.
The press is partially original and partially new build
Re-assembling it is a bit like doing a 3D jigsaw
Ready for action!
A few photos from around Parke
A couple of honey bees making the most of the last of the summer flowers
Fuscias outside Home Farm Cafe
Dew on leaves
Eddie and Jake from our Dartmoor building team have been at Parke this week fixing the Iron guttering which was smashed by a delivery van a few weeks ago- what seemed a simple task turned into a complicated one which needed a full scaffolding platform – fortunately the delivery company is footing the bill
They will also repaint the galvanised roof at the same time
The smashed guttering
The new guttering – thanks to Jake and Eddie
The weather over the last few days has been truly awful but don’t despair – after the rain comes the sun and with the sun comes bees and butterflies. Here are a few pictures I took in the Walled Garden at Parke yesterday afternoon. Nature is very resilient – we should learn from it!
A honey bee
A buff-tailed bumblebee
The underwings of a common blue
The same animal from above