Countryside management students at Writtle College carried out a day’s work at a private estate near Roxwell.
Twenty three students from the Diploma in Countryside Management course worked at Boyton Hall.
The 3,600-acre estate has arable crops and isolated pockets of woodland, and the owners wanted to enhance their shoot habitats.
The students used loppers, slashers and bowsaws to open up four tracks for easier access to the partridge and pheasant feeders, both by Land Rover and on foot. Brash was laid to the side to create a wildlife corridor for invertebrates and small mammals.
John Spencer, Countryside Lecturer at Writtle College, said: “Game shooting is a large part of lowland farm management and has a positive impact on conservation. Shoots keep and maintain important woodland habitats that may otherwise be left unmanaged or removed. Woodlands support not only game but other important wildlife such as warblers, small mammals, bats and deer. By carefully clearing areas for access to the feeders, the environment will also be warmer, encouraging invertebrates such as butterflies and dragonflies.
“The students gained practical hands-on experience of managing a private estate and the issues affecting today’s private estate owners. We aim to open a Level 2 course in Game and Wildlife in September 2013 and hopefully students will be able to work at Boyton Hall Farm for their work placement.”
Student Peter Matthams, 51, from Springfield in Chelmsford, took part in the practical. He said: “It's always good to get out of the classroom and put the theory into practice. It’s valuable experience for us having to work with different organisations, some of whom may be potential employers. We manage to get out of the classroom quite a bit on the countryside course - but we're always up for more!”
Stephen O'Donnell, Head of Mashbury and Boyton Hall shooting Syndicate,and Chris Philpot, farm owner, said: “We were delighted with the work the students have undertaken, very pleased indeed.
“This new partnership with Writtle College and Boyton Hall enabled students to get some valuable hands-on experience. Students will be welcome to return to carry out some woodland management in general, repair of rearing pens and assist with game bird feeding programmes.”