Visitors free to roam at Flitcham farm open day

ABBEY FARM, FLITCHAM 
Hydrologist Tim Grapes (left) with one group of visitors whom he took on a tour of the River Babingley ANL-160507-151237001
ABBEY FARM, FLITCHAM Hydrologist Tim Grapes (left) with one group of visitors whom he took on a tour of the River Babingley ANL-160507-151237001
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Lovers of nature were given the chance to roam when Flitcham’s Abbey Farm threw open its gates to the public on Sunday.

The first visitors had to be up with the skylark - of which the farm has a healthy number - to join the first bird-spotting walk of the day, led by Abbey Farm’s Edward Cross.

The 930 acres of mixed arable land includes an important chalk stream, the River Babingley, and hydrologist, Tim Grapes, was on hand to lead parties along its banks as he explained the nature of the river which has trout in its lower reaches and is fed by a number of valley springs.

Susan Cross and Peter Phillipson provided the expertise on wild flowers and Dr Tony Irwin was on hand to deal with everything in the insect world ranging from bluebottles to butterflies.

For more than 30 years, it has been the policy to conserve the farm’s wildlife whilst producing profitable crops and livestock.

The farm is currently 15 per cent organic and has a public bird hide, plus an accessible area of grassland and wetland.

However, as a working farm, public access is restricted to these two areas for health and safety reasons.

West Norfolk Conservation volunteers have a long history of helping the farm’s conservation work and they always welcome new volunteers who can learn more about the group by emailing ejc@abbeyfarm.co.uk.