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. Sorry: But this event is now fully booked.

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