Nature and wildlife

Nestled among beautiful parkland, Great Oakley Estates is home to some diverse nature and wildlife

Nestled among beautiful parkland, Great Oakley Estates is home to some diverse nature and wildlife

Great Oakley was for many centuries a forest village, and has been home to many different wildlife and natural spaces over the years. In fact the boundaries of Great Oakley were in part solidified when Rockingham Forest was enclosed in 1837 – before this period the village inhabitants would have grazed their livestock in its woods and lawns. That rich natural history is preserved today in Great Oakley Estate – which maintains its links to agriculture and has opened a public footpath through its parkland that surrounds Great Oakley Hall.

In 2014 an in-depth ecological appraisal was carried out on the grounds of the Estate by Environmental Planning & Forestry Consultants, Lockhart Garratt. The full document is an interesting and in-depth read. and the study found a lot of wildlife calling our Estate home.


The protected species surveys confirmed a good assemblage of woodland and farmland bird species. A single meta-population of great crested newts were recorded within the estate and another was recorded nearby.

Bats have been a familiar site across the years in Great Oakley. Home Farm Close – one of the longest standing buildings in the village – is home to a colony of bats. Evidence of bat foraging activity, particularly by the pipistrelle bat, was also confirmed around the hedgerow boundaries of the site. Grass snakes and common lizards have been recorded during reptile surveys – flourishing in the long grass and scrub habitats.


Great Oakley’s parkland is an important habitat and the array of trees with a good age range – including some large horse chestnuts – are also of importance to wildlife. The hay meadow is home to common wildflowers, such as sorrel (rumex acetosa), meadow buttercup (ranunculus acris) and common vetch (vicia sativa) and registers high nutrient levels.

Jacob Sheep

One of the particular animals that calls Great Oakley Estate its home is the Jacob Sheep. There is a flock of these sheep that roam the park and can normally be seen from the main drive.

The Jacob is a rare breed of small, piebald sheep. Jacobs may have two to six horns, but most commonly have four. They are usually raised for their wool, meat, and hides. They are also kept as pets and ornamental animals, and have been used as guard animals to protect farm property from theft or vandalism and defend other livestock against predators!



The village of Great Oakley sits on the upper reaches of Harpers Brook, a tributary of the River Nene that runs throughout Northamptonshire

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