May in pictures

Well done to Langdyke member Nathan Stimpson for two top sightings at Etton Maxey reserve during May.  He was first to spot a rare purple heron and followed it up with this even rarer Four Spotted moth which we have chosen as our image of the month.

We have also decided to include this image of the purple heron, snatched by Mike Weedon as it flew over the reserve.  Two great photos marking a great month at the reserve.

Each month we select photographs taken by our members. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from May.

This is also an unusual picture taken by Langdyke stalwart David Cowcill at the Etton Maxey reserve.  It shows a bee swarm. Fortunately David was able to get in touch with a bee keeper and the swarm was saved to a hive located on one of our reserves.

Bee swarm at Etton Maxey: Photo by David Cowcill

And finally for this month.  Here’s a great shot of a bank vole creeping around in the undergrowth at Swaddywell Nature Reserve.

Bank vole, photographed at Swaddywell Nature Reserve by Duncan Kirkwood












Glow worms, lichen and Clare

Two fascinating nature reserves feature in Langdyke’s programme of events for July together with a walk in the footsteps of John Clare.

On Friday, July 12 you can join the search for glow worms around the Barnack Hills and Holes.  The reserve provides a great spot for catching a view of the little creatures.

The glow worm is not actually a worm, but a beetle. Males look like typical beetles, but the nightly glow of a female is unmistakeable – lighting up to attract a mate in the darkness of their grassland habitats.

To take part in this event please meet in the car park at the entrance to the reserve off Wittering Road, Barnack at 9pm. It is a good idea to take a torch.

On  July 14  ‘A Walk with John Clare’ will give you the opportunity to stroll along in the footsteps of the poet John Clare and learn about the landscape that featured in his poetry.

John Clare by William Hilton, oil on canvas 1820

This is a unique Langdyke joint event with the John Clare Society and John Clare Cottage and sets off at 1pm on the Sunday afternoon of the John Clare Festival in Helpston.

The five mile guided walk around the Helpston area will be led by Carry Akroyd of the John Clare Society and Langdyke’s David Cowcill.

The programme includes an introduction to Clare’s life and works with readings appropriate to the places he visited and commentary on the countryside he loved.

It includes a cream tea at the John Clare Cottage with the opportunity to undertake an audio tour of the cottage and gardens..

Places are strictly limited and bookings will be made on a first come, first-served basis and the cost per person is £9 – payable on the day. To find out more (including joining instructions) and to book your place, please contact Simon Bysshe by emailing  or ringing 01733 253164.

On Sunday , July 21 there is another opportunity to visit the unique Bainton Heath (pictured, top) which is not open to the public.

A guided walk will give you the chance to see the unique content of this site, which includes a small wood and a large pond.

It is a former landfill site filled entirely with fly ash from northern coal-fired powerstations and the railways in the 1960s.

As a result many species of moss and lichen grow there which are not natural to Cambridgeshire – but are more northerly species.

The landfill area has grown over with dense scrub to the north gradually thinning out to open grassland in the south with some bare patches with lichens growing directly on the fly ash.

It is surrounded on three sides by mature mixed woodland with a good variety of large trees and shrubs.

It is currently the home of National Grid and supports two electricity distribution systems and a sub-station. Ironically, the tall pylons have become a home for wildlife.

As a result it is not open to the public and visits can only be made there for events like this one.

If you would like to take part please meet at the Torpel site at 2pm.  The plan is to drive from there to Bainton in as few cars as possible.

The bridge at Bainton Heath: Photo by David Cowcill

Exciting new arts project




An exciting new arts project has been launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Langdyke Countryside Trust.

The programme – called ‘Langdyke Stories’- is in partnership with Art Pop-Up and will see Kathryn Parsons become the Trust’s Artist in Residence.

Artist in Residence Kathryn Parsons with one of the Langdyke sheep









Langdyke chairman Richard Astle said: “It is great to have an artist in residence working with us to mark Langdyke’s 20th anniversary and to help us to encourage more local people to appreciate the sights and sounds of the countryside.  

“We look forward to working with Kathryn and Art Pop-Up to welcome a new audience to our nature reserves and hopefully to encourage them to take a keener interest in nature, the countryside and the work of Langdyke.

Supported by the Peterborough Communities Fund, Langdyke Stories, will see Kathryn undertake an artist’s residency, creating work inspired by the reserves.

Art Pop-Up will also be running a free art workshop programme taught by Kathryn, exploring the eco-printing she’s developing. 

As part of the project the team behind the scheme will be publishing a beautiful anniversary book to celebrate the project.

So if you’ve got any amazing photos of Langdyke do get in touch.

Museum of Objects

Langdyke is also launching a community history project ‘The Museum of Objects’ with items brought in by local people that say something about their relationship with the nature, landscape or history of the LCT area.

Do you have something that tells a story about the Langdyke reserves or your connection to the nature we protect?  We are looking for items and stories to feature in our ‘Langdyke Stories’ book, for example a beautifully worn old dog lead that demonstrates the daily countryside walks by one of our volunteers. Please do get in contact with organiser, Langdyke Trustee David Cowcill via the email address for this website:

Follow the progress of Langdyke Stories  on this website as well as on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram








Programme of arts events

The arts strand of this year’s celebrations has a full programme of events so we do hope you will join us at some of the following events:

Free drop-in arts workshop with Kathryn Parsons

  • June Community workshop, date to be confirmed, please email if your community group are interested in being involved
  • Sat 15- Sun 16 June at Peterborough Heritage Festival
  • Fri 28 June (members only) at Langdyke Summer Festival, Torpel Field
  • Sat 29 June at Langdyke Summer Festival (open to all), Etton-Maxey reserve
  • Sat July 14 at the John Clare Society Festival, Helpston Scout Hut PE6 7DU
  • Fri 13 September at the Langdyke anniversary gathering at Castor Church and Cedar Centre PE5 7AX

Diary date: Local artist Sue Shields will also be hosting a free drop-in art workshop at the Langdyke Summer Festival plus there’ll be lots of other nature activities and family fun, make a date in your diary now!

Interested in becoming involved in the  arts programme?
Please do get in contact via

Kathryn Parsons and her work

About our artist in residence, Kathryn Parsons

This is a sample of her work








Kathryn is a mixed media artist and visual story-teller. She creates intricate, intimate works that weave together tales of people, places and the natural world.

Kathryn’s work has been exhibited at The Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Centre for Craft & Design, Burghley House, Derby Museum and John Clare Cottage Museum.








About Art Pop-Up

Art Pop-Up is a non-profit arts organisation based in Stamford.

We’ve been organising art activities and engagement programmes in the region for 8 years now; from arts festivals to residencies and exhibitions, community and education projects and kids’ summer art courses, including major projects such as Once Upon a Time and the WW1 Commemoration Programme in Stamford.

We use art as an interesting and enjoyable access point to encourage wider participation and understanding. As cultural engineers, we provide unique opportunities to make and promote art and culture regionally. You can find us at if you want to know more.