By Barbara Johnson
This area of beautiful parkland bordered by the Lambrok Stream and situated in the West Wiltshire countryside, has a distinctly rural feel. It is a popular destination for families, walkers, dog walkers and runners and those who just wish to enjoy the fresh air and countryside.
A parkrun, held here every Saturday morning, attracts many people, both young and not so young. Exercise is good for our health and mental wellbeing and so much more enjoyable in such attractive surroundings.
Established in 1989 by Wiltshire Council, this large 140 acre recreational parkland on the southern edge of Trowbridge offers a diverse range of habitats, including a stream, ponds, trees, hedgerows, pathways and rough grass land. Also several large fields each with their own unique atmosphere and views over open countryside.
“. . . .fields each with their own unique atmosphere”
A series of paths link the fields and a circular gravel path provides suitable access for wheelchair users. There is also a network of less formal paths that are mown through the rough grass.
Areas of mature woodland, with large and veteran trees, offer places for birdwatching or perhaps quiet reflection. While a network of hedgerows, scrub and ditches provide both food and habitat for a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.
“. . . .including beautiful dragonflies and damselflies”
Many insects including beautiful dragonflies and damselflies are found in this area and tadpoles and shy water voles swim in the stream and ponds. A kingfisher may be seen fishing from a branch or as a flash of turquoise as it flies downstream and footprints and mussel shells are evidence that otter, well documented on the River Biss, use the Lambrok waterway to supplement their diet.
“A kingfisher may be seen fishing from a branch. . .”
A wide variety of wildlife is to be found here including many protected species. Slow worms and grass snakes, 11 species of bats, badgers, water voles and many species of birds. There is also evidence of otter and dormouse activity. Several rare insect species, plants and water plants are also found here.
Since the summer of 2019 the Country Park and Wiltshire Wildlife Fund has worked together to support the aims of the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership (BACP). Who with 14 other organisations including Wiltshire Council, have aims which include improving public understanding of the value to society of the river catchment and its wildlife and provide better links between habitats for wildlife.
“. . .volunteer Friends of Southwick Country Park . . . in their regular work parties”
Invaluable conservation work is undertaken by Countryside Officers and particularly by the volunteer Friends of Southwick Country Park, who in their regular work parties have planted many young trees, remove litter and harmful ragwort, cut back hedgerows, repair pathways and so many other important tasks.
So much has been achieved since Southwick Country Park was established, to increase, protect and nurture the level of biodiversity found here. Indeed in recent years, with the support of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, the Country Park has applied to Wiltshire Council to become a Local Nature Reserve and hopes shortly to achieve this status.
It is well deserved!
Header picture: Sunset in the Park by C.J. Seymour (April 2019);
others, all taken in the park, as attributed in gallery viewer.