I should start by introducing myself. My name is George Agnew. My family bought the Estate just over a hundred years ago. I was born in Rougham and have lived here for most of my life. Rougham and the Estate run deep within me. I am passionate about both and spend most of my day thinking about one or the other.
I am not a farmer or forester but I have learned a lot about both subjects. I am not an environmental expert but I have walked the woods and lanes of Rougham for so long that I know them intimately. If anything I am a historian. (You can find bits about Estate history elsewhere on this website.) I still learn new things each day that increase my understanding and appreciation of this fantastic corner of Suffolk.
Spring has to be almost everybody’s favourite season. We have just had St George’s Day on 23 April and Shakespeare’s birthday which always seems to be a moment of maximum optimism and hope. The countryside is full of blossom and the buzz of bees. Light levels are rising by the day and even in a strange year like this one my heart leaps with joy.
Bluebells violets and oxslips are appearing and a particular joy is orchids! These rare and precious flowers appear as if by magic. You never quite know where you are going to find them in any particular year. I was lucky enough to find some lovely Early Purple Orchids the other day in one of our woods growing amongst the bluebells. Shakespeare called them ‘Long Purples’ in Hamlet. Such a romantic name for these rare harbingers of spring. Another wonder of this season is the nightingale. We have several singing each night. They can be heard as I go out to put the chickens to bed around dusk. This is one of the most precious moments of the day. Not only is there this wonderful display of song from around various corners of the woodland edge but the light transforms white and blue garden flowers into the most vibrant of plants. The garden then looks at its very best.
What a wonderful season spring is! Let’s all enjoy it in any way we can. In Rougham we are lucky enough to have wonderful woods, roadside trees, footpaths and hedgerows which make it such a fantastic place to walk. All of you have your own special places wherever you live, so go out safely and enjoy the magic!
Photographs: © George Agnew