Boxing Day Talk

On Boxing Day we are delighted that local wildlife Dr Chris Gibson will be leading a talk on Gardening with wildlife in mind. Ahead of this we got together with Chris to discuss can nature beat the experts?

Nature is no more effective at predicting the long-term weather forecast than meteorologists, says Essex wildlife expert Dr Chris Gibson who will be giving a talk at Wivenhoe House on Boxing Day.

Chris said: “As the first frosts of winter start to bite, the countryside and our gardens are full of the fruits of autumn. For most species, 2017 looks like a bumper fruiting year, a so-called mast year.

“Expect the headlines to appear soon – ‘Nature says it will be a long hard winter’. Don’t take any notice – Nature’s doesn’t work that way. It cannot ‘see into the future’ any more than, say, long term weather forecasters. “

Sadly the real answer is more prosaic and makes a lot of sense – it is down to the conditions the fruit were formed under. As Chris says, the weather this spring and summer were ideal: lovely spring weather for flowering and pollination, and a periodically damp summer with (lots of!) moisture to swell the fruit.

“Expect the headlines to appear soon – ‘Nature says it will be a long hard winter’. Don’t take any notice – Nature’s doesn’t work that way.

Chris will be scotching a few more myths when he gives his talk at Wivenhoe House on Boxing Day afternoon.  In what will be an informative and entertaining talk he will be sharing some easy tips to make your garden a haven for wildlife.   After enjoying lunch in the brasserie, this promises to be an excellent way of spending the afternoon and is open to all hotel guests, resident and diners alike.

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Chris added: “Nature has to be able to cope with such variations in food supply. When acorns are abundant, you may see jays collecting them, and cacheing them, burying them in your lawn. Always a good idea to store some when there is excess available.

“But although jays are very intelligent birds, they do sometimes forget where they put them: it has been calculated that the only reason oak trees recolonised Europe as far and fast as they did after the retreat of the Ice Age was because birds were taking the seeds further than they would be able to disperse under their own steam.

As we have seen this year, practically every month brings different conditions.  Chris said: “After the spring drought and summer damp, we also saw an early and spectacular fruiting of fungi. But since late September that has faded rapidly, especially due to the near absence of rain in October.

“Yes, Essex, always the driest part of the country, is now on the verge of drought again. Every year is different and unique, but we should expect weather extremes to become more extreme, intense and frequent under a scenario of man-driven climate change. “

The Boxing Day talk

If you’re staying with us this festive period then details of the Boxing Day talk will be waiting for you in your room. We still have some availability for Boxing Day night on our fantastic value Twixmas Offer which includes dinner, bed and breakfast from £67.50. For more information and to book click here


find us, however you travel
By car:

Whether approaching Wivenhoe House from London and the South or Ipswich and the North via the A12, take the exit marked Colchester (A133). Follow the A133 towards Clacton, ignore the entrance to the Knowledge Gateway, continue along the A133 then take the B1028 for Wivenhoe before turning right into Boundary Road, then right again into Park Road. The entrance for Wivenhoe House is shared with the University of Essex but Park Road leads you through Wivenhoe Park and you will be able to see the glorious house from the road.

For Sat Nav please use CO4 3FA.

Download our PDF Map

By train:

Colchester station, Colchester Town station, Wivenhoe station and Hythe stations are all between 10-15 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Trains run between London (Liverpool Street) and Colchester station every 10-20 minutes. The journey takes around an hour. Also connect with Colchester from Norwich, Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich. Some trains from London (Liverpool Street) also stop at Wivenhoe Station. When travelling from the Clacton/Walton direction, alight at Wivenhoe or Hythe Stations.

By plane:

Stansted airport is approximately 45 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Helicopter pad coordinates are 603200/223900.