Picton Castle and Gardens

A Very Happy Half Term at Picton Castle Gardens!

We had the busiest half term on record last week at Picton Castle Gardens. Our ‘Wildlife Week’ was a huge success and we have loved seeing families enjoying some much deserved quality time in the sunshine. We noticed many families arriving with grandparents too which was wonderful after the difficult year we have all had being apart from our loved ones for so long. Picton really does offer the most perfect day out for every generation as there is something for everyone! The Welsh Owl Garden & Zoo offers daily flying displays, an otter talk and handling sessions with the reptiles, invertebrates and mammals for animal lovers. We have resumed our informative tours of the castle for those who are interested in history. Our award winning gardens are looking spectacular for avid gardeners. The restaurant offers a tasty selection of meals for foodies. The escape rooms can provide a thrilling experience for those who like something a bit different. We really do cater for every age and interest!

We gave away hundreds of paper goody bags to children as they entered the gardens and we have had some wonderful feedback about the informative insect factsheet, animal quiz and wildlife hunt that took children around the grounds teaching them about our animals and how we encourage more wildlife and biodiversity at Picton. Each child also received a few wildflower seeds from our magical Picton wildflower pot to spread at home. We are sure these seeds have now made their way back to every corner of the country and are spreading a little bit of Picton magic to each child’s garden.

We had the RSPB here in the week teaching visitors about the importance of protecting birds in the wild. We are very lucky to have thousands of birds at Picton and providing a safe environment for them to make a successful nest is vital to maintain bird populations. The walls of our castle and walled garden create the perfect habitat for many birds and also bats. We are always thrilled to see the swifts return to Picton. Swifts migrate up from Sub-Saharan Africa in the summer to breed in the U.K. They mate for life and will return to the same nest site each year; our gardeners claim to recognise some of the returning couples each year! You may also see swallows flying in and out of holes in the walls, especially around the castle. Swallows arrive in April, and depart by late September, crossing the Sahara desert to reach their wintering grounds in Southern Africa. One inquisitive Swallow made his way into the dining room on Sunday 30th May and was flying around the ceiling for over 4 hours before he found his way back out of the open window! He was obviously intrigued to see what the inside of the castle looked like and he often took a rest on the portraits of the Philipps’ family, he especially liked sitting on the beautiful portrait of Mai Alice Philipps (Lady Kylsant). Luckily he didn’t have any accidents while sitting on her!

The robins we have at Picton are extremely friendly and clever. They are always following the gardeners around and waiting for the earth to be dug up so they can grab at any tasty worms revealed by the fork. This winter one robin couple were very clever indeed! They made their nest in the bug hotel. They had a brood of baby chicks back in March and it must’ve been the most perfect setting for a nest with hungry chicks. The clever couple could pick off tasty bugs without having to fly anywhere.

Local carpenter Steve Spreadbury was in the courtyard most of this week selling his homemade bug hotels and bird boxes. Steve makes sure he uses only natural materials in his bug hotels and no glue, unlike so many commercially sold bug hotels. If glue is used then bugs are very unlikely to make the hotel their home. They know that glue is toxic and can cause them a lot of harm. So if you would like to encourage more bugs and bees to your garden then it is much better to either make your own using only natural materials or buy one from a man like Steve and not pick one up in shops! In fact Steve’s hotels are so attractive to insects that some bees were making them their homes while on his table, so some families might have taken a couple of Picton bees away with them! Steve sold so many items that he had to take Tuesday off to make more at home to replenish his stock for the rest of the week.

The Mansion of  Mystery Escape Rooms are now fully open, with the brand new room – Espionage – Final Selection offering a new experience for those who have already broken out of the well-established favourite The Time Machine. It was great to see so many families beaming from ear to ear after they had managed to escape last week. Both escape rooms offer you a truly unique day out and this past year has certainly made us value how important creating happy memories with loved ones is. Slots are selling out fast so book your space at https://www.mansionofmystery.com/ to avoid disappointment.

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