Conservation area at Chateau Feely: where the wild things are

Caro FEELY
Chateau Feely conservation area February 2017

Chateau Feely conservation area February 2017

In this time of biodiversity loss it is even more important to keep areas of wilderness and conservation

Isabella Tree’s book Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm has experienced massive success.

At Chateau Feely we have taken steps to enable biodiversity from our wild areas (more below) to our organic and biodynamic certification to no ploughing.

Chateau Feely organic biodynamic vineyard is 14 hectares of farmland with 7 hectares of vines, 2 hectares of vineyard land that is resting, almost a hectare of forest and about 4 hectares of wild conservation land. We call the wild area where the wild things are. This large zone of wilderness is in many parts too steep to farm and at the bottom too wet for vineyards so it is the perfect area to act as a buffer zone between us and the conventional chemical farmers east of us.

This photo is of a game track – the worn path is great for Dora the dog but no good for us humans. This is the most we ever see – mid-winter has cleared the no leaves and brush for us to see in.

We have been at Chateau Feely since 2005. Since 2008, after three years of organic farming, we noticed a distinct increase in biodiversity. The wild orchids appeared in the vineyards, the garden and in the areas like our conservation zone.

Chateau Feely conservation area

Chateau Feely conservation area

I also noticed more insects with different markings to the usual and even small mammals that I hadn’t seen before like a large black mouse with stripes.

Late at night the sounds from down there make me feel like I am in Africa. There are calls that are dramatic and wild. I wonder what is down there.

One of my dream projects is to create a walking route through this wild area with a bird hide. It is magic. I will write a post with the orchids shortly.

We invite you to visit us and experience chateau Feely for yourself. See our series on why organic and how to tell if a wine is organic or not. visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay with us or do a multi day course or multi day walking tour .

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Feely vineyard - old semillon vines