Peacock butterfly – progress report

Remember the peacock caterpillars that Ian found in the nettle beds between Simpson's Field and the Arboretum? At the weekend, he found and photographed one of their chrysalises hanging from a nettle stem.  He emailed this: 'When walking back from the work party last Wednesday we had a look at the nettle patch in Simpsons... Continue Reading →

Wildlife corridor

Above is an aerial photograph of the wildlife corridor between Trowbridge and the villages of Southwick and North Bradley. It connects the woods and open farmland east of the railway line to Southwick Country Park, Sleight Wood and Vaggs Hill in the west. Rare Bechstein's bats from Green Lane Wood use the corridor to reach... Continue Reading →

Rag Week

The heatwave has brought the ragwort into flower early. There isn't a lot of it, but it's blooming beautifully; threatened by drought, it will seed rapidly and each plant can produce as many as 150,000 seeds. So..... it's time for all those who complained about the spraying in the spring to turn out to pull... Continue Reading →

Aerial survey of old oaks

Rich from Wiltshire Council's Countryside Team, along with the help of Rick and Sam from Wessex Rural Crafts, Ecology and Arboriculture, a Warminster-based tree surgery company, undertook aerial surveys of a number of the country park's old oaks in search of signs or evidence of bats. Using endoscopes and tree climbing kit, Rick, Wessex Rural... Continue Reading →

Thanks to the farmer

Our grateful thanks go to the park's tenant farmer. He has done us proud. This year he has taken a new approach; he has broken the park up into a patchwork so that while the  three big fields were cut for silage in May, the rest was cut for haymaking in June. This left large... Continue Reading →

Thank you for waiting….

We have made a few changes. Working our way eastward along the main menu, we have embedded a calendar, have added the beginnings of a package of printable activity sheets aimed at children (and their adults), polished up Contacts, and opened a new gallery to showcase DKG's pictures.  Please feel free to comment, positively or... Continue Reading →

Hogweed

This is hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), first cousin to the giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which the Daily Mail tells us has invaded Virginia and will blind us all. "A horror plant that causes third-degree burns and permanent blindness has been spotted in Northern Virginia..." Daily Mail 6th July Both species contain phytophototoxic chemicals; if you get... Continue Reading →

Song thrush

A song thrush photographed by DKG on midsummer morning. The recording is by Vincent Pourchaire XC422440 CC

Lambrok Stream threatened

Lambrok Stream is the heart of the park's ecosystem; the residential development proposed for Church Lane threatens its well-being. Ian B. walked the length of both tributaries at the weekend and sent in this : "Pond humming with Broad-bodied Chasers at least eight males and I think a female.  A dozen of  what I believe... Continue Reading →

Housing proposal for Church Lane

RPS is preparing a planning application for a residential development in the field between the park and Church Lane; the field is shaded yellow in the map above. RPS, originally Rural Planning Services, appears to be a multinational planning and development consultancy; it is not the building firm proposing to develop the site. They have... Continue Reading →

Butterfly count 21.6.18

On 21st of June, Hugh, Ian and Sarah G walked a regular transect through the park in order to survey the butterfly numbers. They tried to chose a time with the same temperature,  sunshine and wind-speed as the day of last year's 18th June survey. The comparison between yearly surveys is one way to  tell... Continue Reading →

The vandalism spreads

At half term, there was more damage to the trees in the copse at the top of Village Green, fortunately nothing fatal this time but still significant. There was evidence of a camp. The rough grassland, left for wildlife, where we have been planting native daffodils, had been trampled flat in places. We picked up... Continue Reading →

This is just the cutest picture of a squirrel in an oak tree, posted for no other reason than its cuteness. It's by DKG, taken 26th June 2018

Buzzard

This is the park's buzzard. It has come to the park for some years and hunts regularly here and across Southwick Court's old parkland. Buzzards breed when they are three years old but this bird is always seen alone. The first set of photographs were taken early yesterday morning by DKG.  The second set were ... Continue Reading →

The world is full of little brown birds. Small and brown seems to be some kind of default programme for birds and accurate identification can depend on an extra millimetre in a  brown tail feather or the exact shade of a brown eye-stripe. Until they are otherwise identified, the RSPB calls them all LBJs: little... Continue Reading →

Midsummer sunrise

Sunrise on the summer solstice by DKG. "A few photos of the sunrise on June 21st. The sky was producing some lovely cloud textures, a lovely dawn chorus as usual...." Click on the first picture to open the gallery:

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