‘Path’ by Neave Duggan (aged 12)


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 ragwort.

Continue reading “Rag Week”

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 the litter and hoped it was an isolated incident.

Continue reading “The vandalism spreads”

A red squirrel?

We received this, by email, from Simon Handley:


My good lady is convinced that she saw a red squirrel in the park the other day. I saw it too (a fleeting glimpse) and at first I thought it was a chipmunk (??!!) and then thought it seemed a lot redder than grey. Is this possible? It was along the path along the stream between Lambrok Meadow and the large pond. Be grateful for your thoughts. 

Kind regards 

Simon & Sarah Handley 

Continue reading “A red squirrel?”

Hundreds turn out for special NHS parkrun in SCP

Last Saturday Southwick Country parkrun  celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Hundreds of runners took part, many of them in fancy dress.

This is Cathy Warner photographed by Martin Pearce (flickr credit: dungey2002) and FoSCP is willing to bet real spending money she’s not in fancy dress; she’s running in her work clothes. Well done Cathy; well done everybody.

Here is a link to an article in this week’s Wiltshire Times.

A common spotted orchid, photographed today by Julie Newble.

More orchids here

    Common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

Vandalism fatally damages SCP trees

The vandals are back. Last night we got this message from DKG:

“Just returned from a walk around the park with Chris S. Unfortunately the vandals are back. Four trees have been ring barked in the copse in Village Green, the same area where we had trouble last year. If it was children they knew what they were doing, looking closely at the damage, they were not using small pocket knives.

I dread to think what will be damaged next. Especially with the summer holidays approaching. Once people think it’s a good idea to damage trees in this way, where/what next? “

Continue reading “Vandalism fatally damages SCP trees”

Despite the announcement on Wiltshire Council’s website and in the Wiltshire Times, the Traffic Regulation Order notices that have gone up in the car park do not mean that parking charges will be introduced at Southwick Country Park. They are part of the formal consultation process that the county has to complete in order to change their car parking strategy. Such notices have gone up in several car parks across the county.

Read on

Marathon Man

Frank Lamerton, Friend of Southwick Country Park, ran the London Marathon last weekend in 4 hours 19 minutes and 14 seconds. Out of the 174 runners over the age of seventy, he came 13th.  It was the hottest London Marathon on record and Frank came in somewhere around number 13,500 among 41,000 finishers.

Read on

“This was the scene I was greeted with in Sleepers this morning, they kindly left their carrier bag so I was able to clear up and get to a bin.” DKG



Reasons to Scoop Poop: Number Two

This is the second in our series of posts about scooping dog poop in the park; the pun in the title is intentional.

Most of the park’s fields are let to a local farmer who takes two cuts of grass from them each year. That crop is sold on, as hay or silage, mostly to feed horses and farm animals.  Some of it, though, will end up in your gardens in rabbit and guinea pig cages. If the hayfields are contaminated with dog faeces, so is the hay.

Dogs are part of the life cycle of two parasitic organisms that cause diseases, neosporosis and sarcocystosis, in farm animals. In dogs, they rarely cause symptoms, are hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat, but the parasites’ eggs will be present in the dogs’ faeces. In cattle or sheep who become infected by eating feed contaminated by faeces, these parasites can induce abortion, cause neurological problems, and even result in the death of the animal.

Sarcocystosis and neosporosis are caused by the same organisms that, in horses, can cause equine protozoal meningitis.

The prevalence of neosporosis and sarcocystosis in dogs and farm animals is unknown in the UK, but it is thought to be common and very much under-reported. As there is no effective vaccination or treatment for either, vets recommend avoidance: don’t feed your pet raw meat and don’t leave dog faeces on agricultural land.

Most of the park is agricultural land, producing animal feed; please clean up after your dog.


This is the second post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.

Pictures: Google Images

Related posts:

toxocariasis 3
Reasons to scoop poop; no 1
DKG’s pics of poo-bags.


Reasons to Scoop Poop: No 1


Children get toxocariasis when they are infected with the eggs of roundworms (Toxocara canis) from the faeces of dogs. The infection happens when the child gets soil or sand contaminated with faeces into its mouth. Once the eggs are inside the child’s digestive tract, they move into the bowel where they hatch into larvae.

Life cycle of Toxocara Canis
Click to enlarge


The larvae burrow through the wall of the intestine and through the soft tissues to, most commonly, the lungs, liver, eyes, and brain, where they can cause symptoms that range from a mild fever to blindness (don’t click this link if you are squeamish).

It’s hard to tell how many of these infections cause illness, but research in the USA, at the turn of the century, found that 13.9% of children aged upwards of 6 years had Toxocara canis antibodies in their blood, which showed that they had been infected at some time in their lives. Similar research in Sri Lanka found a 50% incidence.

In the park we have a combination of children and dogs that makes it particularly important that we are vigilant. Almost every dog will get roundworms at some time in its life and, at any one time, about 20% of dogs are infected. This means that one in every five dogs that comes into the park will bring with it mature roundworms, each one of which can lay 200,000 eggs every day, for a rolling, tumbling, thumb-sucking toddler to put in his mouth.

People are very careful about picking up on the central path and we are grateful, but some are less conscientious  when their dogs poop in the grass, which is, of course, where our children play. Please clean up after your dog. Toxocara eggs are not infectious for the first 10–12 days so you are in no danger as you poop-scoop, but they can live in the soil and be infectious for many, many years afterwards if you don’t scoop.




This is the first post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.

Pictures: Google Images

Sunday Morning in the Park


Pleasant saunter with Pat and all the hounds this morning round Southwick Country Park.  The long tailed tit’s nest is now finished with a cladding of lichen.



Two reports: a little egret at the pond and a barn owl hunting on Lambrok Meadow but we didn’t see either. We looked for the daffs we planted last year and saw about fifty in flower and lots of blind bulbs all along the edge of Village Green from the decorated bridge around to the seat, and also down by the stream. Not a bad return considering they were supposed to be bedding in the first year.



The primroses are out all over the place and the first of the blackthorn and the pussy willow are beginning to show. Spring just round the corner. . . . .

logo 2

Pictures: Ian B. and SMH

Wheels For All

On Thursday, Rob Paget, Disability Sports Development Officer for Wiltshire Council, and Chris Revill, from Wheels For All  in Bath, came to Southwick Country Park to carry out a trial run on disability bikes to see if the park would be a suitable venue to hold events. Rob and Chris recently developed an adapted cycling programme in Salisbury for people of all ages with disabilities  to take part in cycling on adapted bikes in a safe environment.

Rob is working in partnership with Bath Wheels for All to develop an adapted cycling session in West Wiltshire and has highlighted Southwick Country Park as a potential location. The Friends came along to help; they loved it!


This picture from left to right: Chris, Ali and Joan. Title picture: Vicky, Ian and Andy.


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by Vicky

Pictures: DKG on his phone.

Hope Nature Centre

Our tearooms, are open from 8.30am until 4.30pm with delicious hot food served from 8.30 until 3.30pm

We have a busy, fun volunteer/events schedule, to help run our charity; which includes Work Wednesdays, where volunteers can turn up and help out with a variety of tasks around the animal park.

 Our May Fete is on 20th May and is always lots of fun. If you would like to help run one of our stalls or run your own stall please contact the centre.  We also have Mother’s Day Lunch and Afternoon Teas and Easter Egg Hunts to look forward to. Lots going on and lots to get involved with. We look forward to meeting you soon, from all of us at Hope Nature Centre.

Call Anya 01225 759075 for more info.”



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