Beef & Bikes, Barley & Peas, New Paint & Old Trees

August has been a busy and a bountiful time for all of us at the South Ormsby Estate. As summer begins to fade, the garden is giving us much produce in the shape of tomatoes, potatoes, onions and carrots. In the fields, the harvest is in full swing, with the barley, peas and oil-seed rape already harvested and the wheat waiting its turn. Elsewhere on the estate, some key projects are also bearing fruit.

We’ve seen the estate’s beautiful metal fences repaired and re-painted smartly in black, ensuring they’ll give us many more years of service. The painters have also finished both the insides and outsides of the north, east and south windows. As many of their frames are rotting away, the western windows will need painstaking preparation before the painters can finish their task.

Coinciding with Round 8 of the 2019 British Superbikes series at Cadwell Park, on Thursday 15th August we host the estate’s annual Beef & Bike Night. For one night, the estate becomes a mecca for petrol-heads, giving the general public the chance to rub shoulders with current and future stars of BSB, and to enjoy live music, a rodeo bull and the flavourful succulence of Massingberd-Mundy Lincoln Red beef.

The festivities don’t stop there. We had double use from the marquee and facilities by hosting Jemma’s 30th birthday party. This was a more sedate affair featuring plenty of love, laughter and game-playing.

At South Ormsby, we are surrounded by living heritage. Our veteran tree search made some remarkable finds this week. Firstly, we have one of the largest beech trees in the British Isles, with a stem of 2.01m and a girth of 6.31m. Christened ‘The Massingberd Beech’, this old man of the woods is probably over 500-years old and may have been a sapling when Henry VIII reigned. Age takes its toll, however, and decay in the tree’s base means we may need to reduce his height by 6-7m to prevent collapse.

A very large pedunculate oak – christened ‘The Ormsby Oak’ – was also found by our tree search. Not to be outdone, this oak’s stem diameter of 2.24m and girth of 7.04m indicates an age of over 560 years, making the tree contemporary with the early battles of the Wars of the Roses. While the tree has been split down its vertical axis by the sheer mass of its own crown, remarkably it remains upright, healthy and – with careful intervention – able to live for centuries to come. Options to stabilise the tree range from installing non-invasive straps, which would need routine replacement, to drilling and bolting shut the rupture.

While August is a time of warmth and plenty on the South Ormsby Estate, planning for winter is well underway. Preparations have begun for the installation of a biomass, log-burning boiler. The roof of an old outbuilding has been taken off and foundations will go in next. When complete, the boiler will ensure that the hall remains warm and hospitable when the cold starts to bite.