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A day in the life of the Bird Garden team

Visit Yorkshire to see our Bird Garden

I took on my role as Bird Garden and Farm Experience Manager in December 2015, joining Harewood from Edinburgh Zoo. As manager, it’s my responsibility to oversee the daily running of the Bird Garden and the newly created Farm Experience. It’s an exciting, busy part of Harewood which is at the start of a three year development plan to enhance this much loved part of the grounds.

My day begins at 8am when I arrive at the Bird Garden kitchen with the rest of the team. The Bird Garden is home to 37 different bird species which all have specific dietary needs. From the tall, elegant cranes to the critically endangered Bali starling, we make sure each bird has the right food. We also prepare buckets of chopped carrots, apples, pears and leafy greens for our rabbits, guinea pigs and farm animals.

Once prepared, we head to the Bird Garden and begin the task of feeding and cleaning all the aviaries. We check all the birds to make sure that they are in good health whist we’re in the enclosures before the visitors arrive. One of my personal favourites in the Bird Garden are our family of palm cockatoos. These are unusual birds and it’s the first time I’ve worked with them. The youngest of the three birds is very inquisitive and he will often fly around the keepers, watching them closely as we clean and prepare the large aviary.

At this time of year we often find nests full of eggs which we will leave with parents to look after. On some occasions it may be necessary to take the eggs carefully to our artificial incubation room. Here we place them in specially designed incubators and hand rear any chicks that might hatch.

Once all of the birds are fed and checked, we go for a well- earned cup of coffee!

The next job is to clean out the farm animal paddocks and give them their first feed of the day. At 12pm, one of the keepers will take a bucket of eggs, veg and fruit to the pig enclosure. Here we invite visitors to take an item from the bucket and throw it over the fence for the pigs to enjoy. They are full of character and, since their arrival in March, I’ve grown very fond of them. Once the pigs have had their fill, we move onto the next paddock. Once again visitors can feed leafy greens to our hungry pygmy goats.

After lunch, I often leave the Bird Garden and Farm in the capable hands of the team and head over to the office to carry out the necessary (and inevitable!) paperwork for the day. This includes record keeping, ordering supplies, planning for upcoming events, liaising with the vet, managing new arrivals and arranging transportation of animals who may be leaving our care.

A significant role for the Bird Garden is the care and preservation of endangered species. Many of the birds we manage are in captive breeding programmes which supports their ongoing survival. These breeding programmes exist to support the genetic variation of captive populations. Computer databases help compile studbooks that record the details of each individual animal in the programme. This includes the animal’s sex, date of birth, and full family history. No money changes hands when we exchange animals with other zoos. Our aim is purely to save and protect endangered wildlife.

We have welcomed several new additions including six Humboldt penguins which arrived in early March from the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire. We also took on an egg which our colony have adopted. We hope that this foster-chick will hatch soon.

Other new additions include a pair of cheer pheasants which form part of our Himalayan themed enclosures overlooking the Lake, and a large group of roul roul partridge, an appealing, ground dwelling bird from Borneo.

When I’m in the office, it’s also the time that I catch up with the rest of the team who work outside the Bird Garden. The team at Harewood have a lot to juggle from school groups to TV interviews!

At 3:30pm, I will head back to the Bird Garden to carry out the Daily Penguin Talk and often find myself introducing not only the penguins, but also the wild grey herons and red kites that visit the enclosure hoping they might help themselves to a sprat or two!

Once I have answered the varied and interesting questions from visitors, I will either head back to the office, or carry out a variety of tasks around the Bird Garden until it is time to close for the evening. Every day there are new and exciting challenges arriving, so no two days are ever the same.

By Nick Dowling, Bird Garden and Farm Experience Manager

Chief Executives Report 2016

A huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes this winter and I am very much hoping it will bring some excellent, new things for you to see and do in the coming season. There has been so much change. Read on!

The landscape at Harewood was sculpted by Capability Brown

As 2016 marks the tercentenary of the birth of Capability Brown, we will be opening up the South Front to allow you to see the House and parkland from a different perspective. You will be able to have a closer look at the foundations of Gawthorpe Hall, the medieval manor which pre-dates Harewood House.

The House itself is naturally one of the best viewing platforms to see Brown’s amazing work. We will be making sure this is well interpreted through a series of exhibitions and displays providing both a historical and contemporary context. Please see inside for more details.

Harewood House is used as a location for ITV's Victoria

The House has been very busy over the winter period hosting a large ITV production. Filming is an important part of our income and we will have updates about what we’ve been working on this winter soon.

We have begun a three year programme of development in the Bird Garden which will re-launch this much loved area of Harewood.. We are developing a Himalayan theme within the bird collection and plan to introduce several bird species from the region later this season. This will sit very closely with the many plants, trees and shrubs that can be seen in our own Himalayan Garden. Alongside this work, we are creating a strong education and conservation message to best interpret the birds on display.

Across the wider Estate, Harewood has introduced many successful conservation initiatives. We felt it was important to show you some of these projects through fresh interpretation. Plans are in place to introduce this additional interpretation throughout the season. Restored areas of the Bird Garden will be devoted to indigenous species of birds, mammals and insects. We are also introducing a new minibeast trail too!

Not only will we be portraying our message about British wildlife, but also the importance of conservation worldwide. There will be a strong message about critically endangered species across the globe, and we will be advising visitors about how they can do their bit supporting animal conservation projects. Last but not least, our “old favourites”, the penguins, flamingos, owls and parrots will be better displayed and we will be telling you much more about them.

I hope that this project will create considerable interest and there will be opportunities for everyone, adults and school children, to get involved and engage with the Bird Garden at several levels.

Harewood-Farm-Experience-credit-Harewood-House-Trust-and-John-Steel-(3)

For the first time we will be offering a Farm Experience geared to our younger visitors. There will be rabbits to pet, donkeys, goats and pigs, and maybe even alpacas! Please bring your children and grandchildren to see this exciting new attraction.

Our Visitor Information Centre and Visitor Experience Team are moving from the car park to the eastern side of the Courtyard where it will be co-located with the Gift Shop. The former space occupied by the Gift Shop will become overflow catering space on busy days. The Courtyard will be buzzing with things to see do and eat!

The old Information Centre is being redeveloped into an unmanned satellite Information Point which will be staffed on busy days. A new Yorkshire Dales ice cream kiosk is opening alongside the Yorkshire Larder and we hope that this will be popular with those who wish to picnic and play games on the North Front.

Our boat, The Capability, will be sailing again! Please check our website for details of the sailings.

There is much going on, exhibitions, events, new attractions, our second hand bookshop and last but not least the Adventure Playground. Please see inside this letter for the various details you may want and I really look forward to welcoming you back this year.

The Art and Antiques Fair at Harewood returns

The fourth annual Antiques & Fine Art Fair at Harewood opens from Friday 11 September until Sunday 13 September 2015 in The Marquee in the grounds of Harewood House, Harewood, near Leeds in West Yorkshire LS17 9LQ, organised by The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited and supported by Knight Frank’s Harrogate office. Antiques Fair ticket holders will have the added advantage of access to Harewood’s grounds and ‘below stairs’, as well as a special ticket price offer to visit the House’s state rooms and current exhibitions, over the three days of the Fair.  Harewood members will receive free entry to the Fair and free parking. Antiques Fair tickets cost £5 each on the door or in advance.

An exquisite array of fine art and antiques will be for sale, including silver, antiquities, jewellery and watches, paintings, clocks and barometers, glass, traditional and country furniture, books, English and Continental ceramics, contemporary and 19th century sculpture, objets d’art and much more. The majority of the high calibre dealers, convening at The Marquee at Harewood from around the country, are members of the British Antique Dealers’ Association or LAPADA The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, the two main UK bodies governing the antiques trade.

Local silver dealers, Jack Shaw & Co from Ilkely offers a wide selection of silver, including pieces made in York: a set of three Victorian meat dishes, £6,750, a seal top spoon, c1650, £1,875 and a George III cruet set, £2,250.  Malka Levine brings an impressive pair of Sheffield plate wine coolers, c1820, priced at £4,800, as well as a pair of Mappin & Webb silver vases, 1925, with a price tag of £1,200.

Olde Time has a diverse collection of clocks and barometers. One highlight is a cast bronze elephant clock surmounted by a figure blowing a shell, 16½” high, c1860, £12,950, possibly by Miroy Frères, Paris.  The elephant’s trunk is raised, which is a sign of good luck, and it stands on an ormolu rococo base.

TV personality and antiques dealer Mike Melody of Melody Antiques, from Chester, deals in oak country furniture, including a matched set of six ash and elm Lancashire  spindle back chairs, c1830,  priced at £1,495 for the set and a late 19th century Orkney  chair, £975.  S&S Timms Antiques has an exceptionally rare Queen Anne period walnut miniature chest on stand, with original brassware, raised on cabriole legs, c1710, £14,500 and a Queen Anne walnut wing back armchair, c1710, £9,500.

With this being the year commemorating the Battle of Waterloo 200 years ago, a Baccarat crystal glass paperweight of bottle form with a sulphide inclusion of Napoleon, c1840

£1,600 is fitting and to be found on Mark J West’s stand. Jewellery and precious objects from T Robert include an 18ct gold and platinum calibrated emerald, diamond and natural pearl Belle Epoque necklace, c1910, £4,450  and  an exceptional lacquer and multi-gem set Shibiyama double sided table screen, c1880, £1,850. Other jewellery specialists exhibiting include Plaza with designer pieces and Anderson Jones.

Paintings include Owen Bowen’s A Yorkshire Farmhouse, £1,850 from Ashleigh House Fine Art. Bowen (1873-1967) studied at Leeds School of Art and was elected to the Staithes Group in 1904. He painted landscapes in and around Leeds and in Northumberland.  Harry Sutton Palmer’s watercolour of River Ure and Vale of Mowbray near Ripon measures 20¼” x 14½” is priced at £3,800 from Baron Fine Art.
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In addition, Tim Phelps of T L Phelps Fine Furniture Restoration will be on hand to advise and show examples of his work. Tim Phelps has worked on restoration of Chippendale furniture at Harewood House.  Advisers from Wilson Mitchell & Co Ltd, a partner practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, will be happy to discuss investments with their clients and other interested visitors.

Simon Warner’s Theatrical Tours go down a treat!

Simon in the guise of John Jewell

‘I was held…!’
‘The addition of the ghost was wonderfully atmospheric’
‘We were lucky to see a Stag appear as if on cue too – it was brilliant!’

Some of the comments following artist Simon Warner’s latest Theatrical Tour as part of on-going Medieval Harewood events this Summer…

Medieval Harewood Theatrical Tours

Simon Warner is a Yorkshire based photographer and performance artist. Simon will be conducting unique walking tours of Harewood’s medieval history enhanced with an audio experience, a real experience of Medieval Harewood!

Theatrical Tour dates: 17th July, 1st August, 14th August & 3rd September.

Medieval Harewood Theatrical Tour

There’s still time to book for Simon’s last Theatrical Tour on 3rd September, book now to avoid disappointment!

Read more and book…

This summer, explore Medieval Harewood with us…

Find out more on our Medieval Harewood webpages…

A Yorkshire Rose for Yorkshire Day!

The Yorkshire Post were here at Harewood today to photogrpah a new rose named ‘Yorkshire Princess’ in honour of HRH Princess Mary. Our Craft Gardener Helen Fletcher is shown with the rose in the Yorkshire Post piece.

We are introducing the new rose called ‘Yorkshire Princess’, dedicated to HRH the Princess Mary, Princess Royal, who lived here at Harewood for more than 30 years, to coincide with our Royal Harewood exhibition in this Diamond Jubilee year, .

Resembling an old-fashioned rose, this beautiful, but modest groundcover or patio rose, has a slight sweet scent, and is white with a delicate Orient Pink centre. Flowering throughout the summer, it is suitable for planting in rockeries, at the front of borders or alongside paths in cottage gardens, and will shortly be planted here at Harewood to commemorate the Princess’s contribution to the Gardens.

Gardens - HRH Princess Mary on the Terrace

Trevor Nicholson, Head Gardener at Harewood House, said: “Princess Mary was a very keen gardener and plantswoman who made a significant impact on the gardens here, introducing many elements of the gardens which our visitors still enjoy today. She was particularly fond of roses and so, to mark this year’s special ‘Royal Harewood’ exhibition, a rose was the ideal way to create a lasting tribute. The pure white petal, soft blush centre and sweet scent give a traditional feel, in-keeping with old-style roses and perfect for a Yorkshire Princess.”

Gardens - Rosa Yorkshire Princess

A limited number of Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ will be available to purchase as a containerised shrub from the Harewood plant stall this summer, with new stock arriving in November 2013. You can register your interest by emailing us your contact details, and we’ll send you an update when further stock becomes available.

Bred in Northern Ireland by Dickson Nurseries, it is currently available to pre-order online as a root for potting from their website for delivery in November 2012.

We’ll be officially launching our new rose at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground from 14-16 September, you can call the Ticket hotline on 01423 546157 or visit their website for more details of the show.

Our exhibition, Royal Harewood, celebrating the life of the Princess continues until the end of September.

Explore the gardens for yourself, from the breath-taking Terrace overlooking majestic ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, to the exotic plant hunters’ paradise of the Himalayan Garden and the delightful lakeside and woodland paths to the Walled Garden…

Find out more about the Gardens at Harewood…

The details:

Rosa ‘Yorkshire Princess’ – parentage Nice ‘n’ Easy x Regensberg; breeder Colin Dickson, Dickson Nurseries, Co Down; patio/groundcover; hybridised in 2005; blooms in clusters, white with hint of Orient pink; slight sweet scent; height 66cm, spread 65cm; flowers continuously throughout the summer.