On the first day of Christmas

my true love sent to me

a partridge in a pear tree. The park’s partridges are Perdix perdix, the grey partridge, not the pretty little North American plumed partridge, Perdix plumifera, sitting in our Christmas card’s pear tree. Neither does the park actually have any pear trees: cherries, plums, sloes, apples and pedants aplenty but no pears at all. Nevertheless…

Christmas greetings from the Friends of Southwick Country Park.

Christmas robins

A Christmas Eve gallery of the park’s robins, photographed by DKG.


There were reindeer here in Britain in large numbers around the time of the last ice age, 35,000 to 50,000 years ago. There were wild herds of reindeer in Scotland right up until the 13th century when, like so many of our large native herbivores, they were hunted to extinction.

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A seasonal robin from DKG to cheer us all up on an overcast December morning. Thanks DKG.

What happened to Oak 5552?

Sometimes, healthy and mature trees shed large branches during the summer for no apparent reason. This is what is known as Summer Branch Drop Syndrome and it is what happened to Oak 5552 in August of this year.

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Winter bees

There are at least two wild honey bee nests in the reserve, high up in hollow old trees. Here is a short video that shows how the bees are adapting their colony and their behaviour to the demands of winter.

What value is your walk?

by David Feather

Did you realise that by taking walks through our lovely semi-wild nature reserve, you were saving the Country money? I didn’t and I bet you didn’t, unless you read an article in the Guardian last week.

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Real or fake?

A lot of people buy artificial Christmas trees in the belief that it benefits the environment, but environmentalists and energy analysts disagree. We need only look at a single element of the hundreds of thousands of artificial trees that will be put up and decorated this Christmas: they are all made of plastic.

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The Wood Wide Web

by David Feather

I enjoy mushrooms, particularly as part of a full English breakfast. What I have never, till now, known, is that they and their other fungi relatives could save the planet.

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