The Natural Environment
Combermere Abbey & its surrounding lands comprise approximately 1000 acres of sensational wildlife habitat, which has been home to a myriad of different species of animals, birds and flora since the first monastry was established here in 1133.
The large glacially formed mere is one of the largest in private hands, and in earlier times would have been predominantly surrounded by woodland. In the ensuing centuries, the estate and its historical buildings have undergone various changes as ownership & fashion has changed. In the 19th century, the estate underwent an ambitious redesign with an extension of the original main water and a redesign of the parkland in a style reminiscent of Capability Brown but carried out by John Webb.
Combermere is particularly well-recognised for its wealth of wetland birds, which include: herons, grebes, cormorant, egrets, swans, Canada, greylag and pinkfoot geese; many different types of duck and various gull species. The garden species – wagtail, tits, robins, woodpeckers, nuthatch and finches are also very much in evidence. Wild animals, such as badgers & foxes, minks & moles, rabbits & hares have all been observed, as well as voles, dormice and squirrels.
The woodland surrounding the lake offers a glimpse into the remarkable variety of species in England’s ancient woods. We have oak, sweet and Spanish chestnut, yew, wellingtonia, sycamore, ash, hornbeam, copper and green beech, hazel and a variety of conifers. Throughout the year they are home to a variety of seasonal wildflowers. We have established a 2 mile walk through the park and woodlands for our holiday guests to enjoy along the old rides which have existed here for many years.
Guests staying in our cottages have a wonderful opportunity to see many of these birds during their visits, and we regularly receive comments in our visitor books. During the year, access to the lake is given to members of the local Wetland survey team for regular bird counts and Natural England. Many universities also come here to do a myriad of surveys on the Mere. On occasion when requested, we will permit more general public access, but this is monitored closely as there is a patchwork of enterprises here, making it important to maintain a balance that does not interrupt their function and jeopardise the safety of all.
We actively promote the peace and tranquility of the environment here at Combermere, and find that our guests often remark on how much better and more relaxed they feel after even a short visit! Achieving this balance takes good management mixed with commercial focus and a team who feel part of the Estate. The long-term vision for Combermere is to protect its unique environment from both the historic buildings and natural environment perspective, and to continue to encourage visitors to come and enjoy such a wonderful gift!