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A Heronry in Lincolnshire

What is a Heronry?
Not a word you come across everyday but one that should be easy enough to guess the meaning of.
The real question is - are there any in Lincolnshire?
There was once . . .

A Heronry is simply a colony of Herons, simply defined but not so simply found - it’s not often you see more than one or two Herons let alone a breeding colony.
For an example I turn to an interesting snippet from an early turn of the century edition of Lincolnshire Notes & Queries in which there’s mention of a book written by Thomas Pennant, published in 1771, about his tours of the country.

He mentions Cressey Hall in Lincolnshire and a remarkable Heronry

Heron in Flight at Worlaby Carrs

As well as many other interesting species of birds Pennant recorded:

The greatest curiosity in these parts is the vast Heronry at Cressi-Hall, six miles from Spalding. The herons resort there in February to repair their nests, settle there in the spring to breed, and quit the place during- the winter. They are numerous as rooks, and their nests so crowded together, that myself and the company that was with me, counted not fewer than 80 in one tree. The family who owned this place was of the same name with these birds, which seems to be the principal inducement for preserving them.

The hall burnt down in 1820 and was rebuilt, for the second time. Unfortunately so many of the trees were felled that the Herons left and went to Carwood Hall in Gosberton where they stayed for some 20 years before being disturbed and re-settling in Donnigton at Wikes Farm.

It’s only a snippet I know but something unusual in Lincolnshire and something that, I at least, found of interest.
I’d be keen to expand on it of course, should anybody know of anything

All the best


  1. v said,

    September 27, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    fabulous photo .

    I actually found the article a little sad Rod. Mainly because of the actions of men have such an effect on diminishing something so beautiful .

    But also, how beautiful a command of English people had in bygone times and which is so sadly lacking nowadays. ( eh ah wi goin’ market ?)

    What a masterful parlance is this …

    ” The herons resort there in February to repair their nests, settle there in the spring to breed, and quit the place during- the winter. They are numerous as rooks, ” what a lilt and flow !

  2. minnie said,

    September 27, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

    Dont know if they are still there but there used to be lot of herons around the Holbeach , Crowland and Kings Lynn areas (particularly Holbeach). I worked at vets in that area and been on the wrong end of their beak quite a few times

  3. Rod said,

    September 27, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

    once again something we’ve lost and need not have, both the Heronry and the prose - as you say it’s sad!

  4. Rod said,

    September 27, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

    thanks for that, much appreciated, nice to hear of a concentration

  5. daveh said,

    September 27, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

    I think there are some in the south end of the county at the moment i,m trying to get more gen, there is one at the lakes at Deeping St James this is on the road to Crowland near the railway,its run by lincolnshire trust for nature.
    You may get more from either BTO or RSPB, hope this helps.
    regards daveh

  6. Cid said,

    September 28, 2013 @ 11:50 am


    Is there such a thing as a ‘pigeonry’ because I think I’ve already got one of those :)

    Cracking photo, lovely detail of the wing.


  7. Rod said,

    September 28, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    that’s fantastic, many thanks indeed, I’ll look into it

  8. Rod said,

    September 28, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

    I hate pigeons :twisted: feathered rats :)

  9. Amiguru said,

    September 28, 2013 @ 7:54 pm


    EXTERMINATE! :mrgreen:

    Its not often that I shout but I wholeheartedly agree with Rod’s description of them.

    Leave the badgers alone and switch to these instead. They are officially a major pest and imagine how much food they consume in the UK. I know that they can’t help being successful but I am amazed that there is a twisted website which describes how to feed them! :?

    Rant over; I agree about your picture Rod - perfect angle demonstrating the paraboloid wing. :)


  10. minnie said,

    September 29, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    I have a love/ hate relationship with pigeons these days - love pigeon pie but hate the bloody woodpigeon that sits on my chimney first thing in the morning. Roll on the darker mornings and ‘Fat Albert’ will be staying in bed longer (and so will I!)

  11. Rod said,

    September 29, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    turning Fat Albert into a pie would tick a couple of boxes :twisted:

  12. Mick said,

    September 30, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    Pigeon pie is very very delicious :)

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