The Gardens and Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle are sympathetically managed to benefit and encourage the wide array of flora and fauna found on the estate. Any work undertaken is respectful of the natural and historic features of the estate and encompasses the natural rhythm of the seasons.
Our Gardens are an aesthetic indulgence of the senses – a wash of colours, textures and scent that also benefit and nurture the estate’s pollinators.
Integrating a wide variety of plants with long flowering seasons ensures there is something of floral interest from early spring until late autumn, it also guarantees a dependable and vital source of nectar through the seasons.
From simple steps like delaying cutting back borders which provide habitat and a food source during winter months or using peat free composts to something more specialised like keeping bees, each decision is taken with sensitivity and care.
Much of the estate is dedicated to the establishment and development of wildflower meadows, through annual sward management and a little help from our small flock of Herdwick sheep. This enables us to re-establish and develop these areas of high biodiversity, encompassing a species-rich grassland supporting much of our native pollinators and invertebrates.
With most of the estate’s woodland being Ancient (known to be wooded since at least the 1600’s) it is a rich source of biodiversity with species that have become established in these areas over hundreds of years. Because of this these woodlands require especially sensitive management with long term goals. Working with the Forestry Commission and Natural England our woodland is cared for under a woodland management plan and various conservation focused schemes to ensure that the woodland will improve in its health and biodiversity for generations to come.
The Estate is cared for under a higher-level stewardship scheme, this is a distinguished level of care for the whole estate focussing on the specialised management of the ecologically sensitive and scientifically important attributes on the estate such as our botanically unique ponds, vast expanses of marshland, and historic parkland.
There is a vast array of wildlife throughout the seasons from herds of wild deer moving through the fields and woodland, solitary bees busily working on sandy south facing banks, butterflies fluttering effortlessly in the meadows, and kingfishers darting across the moat. As night falls bats can also be seen spilling from the castle’s turrets.