Stinking Willie and Marefart

Ragwort has many common names; in fact some, like stinking willie and marefart, are downright vulgar. Both refer to the plant's unpleasant smell. Another set of names, staggerwort, stammerwort and sleepy-dose, are about to its toxicity.  Then there is felon weed, swine grass and our personal favourites: scrog and weeby. To go with its unsavoury nicknames, Ragwort... Continue Reading →

Slow worm survey

The Friends,  on a wet and squelchy day last week, prepared to survey the park's slow worm population. Here is DKG's report:     "Mats were cut and numbered for the slow worm survey with 40 mats laid in 4 areas (10 per area). These will be monitored in the coming weeks once we have... Continue Reading →

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... Continue Reading →

WINTER NOTES

BY SARAH MARSH The winter weather has not been kind to the Friends and all over the Park the ground has been very boggy and waterlogged. When it has stopped raining, we had to endure bitter icy cold winds blowing from the east. However, we are a hardy bunch and only missed one session of... Continue Reading →

Pop goes the Weasel

Hats and scarves was the order of the day for Wednesday's work party, and hedges and ditches, out of the east wind, were the best places to spend the morning. The park, however, was getting on with spring to an accompaniment of birdsong. Trish saw a weasel hunting through the hedge; it ran across the... Continue Reading →

Litter Picking

One of the perennial jobs around the Park is collecting litter. Most weeks sees one of the Friends with litter picker and rubbish sack in hand. All sorts of rubbish is found especially during the winter months when the foliage dies back and it is easier to spot. Sometimes we come across rubbish that has... Continue Reading →

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

We were given three English oak tree saplings for the park. The saplings, perhaps ten years old, were grown from the acorns of ancient Wiltshire oaks: the Cathedral Oak, Cromwell’s Oak and, we were told, the Sherston Oak. The Cathedral Oak, a magnificent tree, huge and contorted, 10 metres round and believed to be more... Continue Reading →

Pollarding Willows

Recently you may have seen that the overhanging willows on either side of the path leading from the pond to Lambrok Meadow have been either removed or pollarded, opening up the whole area. Pollarding is an old technique in which the upper branches of a tree are pruned away during winter to promote a dense... Continue Reading →

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