The farm has several different habitats within a relatively small area. These habitats include ancient semi natural woodland, wetland, herb rich grassland and unimproved grassland. It has been a thrill to watch the bio-diversity of the farm increase and seen the structure of the soil improve.
A survey carried out by the RSPB in 2011 recorded nearly 50 different species of birds, including Yellowhammers, Whitethroat, Linnet, Wheatears, Skylarks, Treecreepers, Tawny owl, Reed buntings, Chiffchaffs and Lapwings. Bow Brook runs through the farm and although we have occasionally seen the beautiful Kingfisher ourselves, sadly it wasn’t spotted while the survey was being carried out and therefore wasn’t officially recorded. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust have also surveyed the farm and have designated our 20 acre Gannow Wood as one 530 key Local Wildlife Sites of the County. It is also an Ancient Semi Natural Woodland that appeared with the same footprint in the Doomsday Map.
In 2007 a survey was carried out by the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service of Worcestershire County Council, to assess the historic value of some of the features of the farm. Gannow Wood, as well as being environmentally significant is also of great archaeological interest. The wood is enclosed by a double ditch and bank boundary and represents enclosure of medieval open fields and removal of land from cultivation probably during the 15th or 16th Century. This change in historic land use can be clearly observed within the wood as earlier ridge and furrow can still be seen.
Stockwood has a gently rolling lowland topography and is located in an area that was part of the medieval forest of Feckenham and lies between the parishes of Feckenham and Inkberrow. Enclosure came late; all the land was enclosed by 1834. This fields and hedgerows on the farm are in essentially the same locations as at the time of enclosure. We were able to obtain copies of a tithe map of the farm dating from this period which has enabled us to replace the small number of hedges that were removed in the 1960’s. The map also shows the names of the fields such as ‘part of upper diggin’, ‘great field’, ‘hovel ground’ and ‘field meadow’.
The land is nutritionally rich but given its clayey nature is naturally poorly draining and therefore very wet. Drainage was first carried out in the latter part of the 19th Century.