Richard on TV talking nature

Langdyke chairman Richard Astle has been outlining an ambitious project to boost nature in his role as the chair of Natural Cambridgeshire.

Due to the rapid pace of development in the county, less than a 10th of the available land is currently designated as a wildlife habitat or natural space, and that is having an impact on health and the economy.

A new project hopes to double the amount of green space in Cambridgeshire.  You can see Richard talking about the project in an ITV Anglia News interview by clicking here

 

July in pictures

It’s been a battle of the Emperors to find the best photographs taken by members and uploaded to our Facebook site during  July … to be precise the emperor dragonfly species.

We have two great shots of the dragonfly – or blue emperor as it is known – taken near the pond at Swaddywell Pit nature reserve.

The first was taken by Steve Zealand.

Emperor Dragonfly at Swaddywell Photo: Steve Zealand

 

 

 

Days later Duncan Kirkwood captured this image at virtually the same spot.

An Emperor Dragonfly at Swaddywell Pit. Photo by Duncan Kirkwood

Our image of the month for July (top) is of a juvenile Grasshopper perched on a Crested cow-wheat at Castor Hanglands.  It was taken by Sarah Lambert.

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 July.

During a special visit to Marholm Field Bank – the latest reserve that Langdyke has ‘adopted’ for a bit of love and attention  Kathryn Parsons photographed this rare Green Hairstreak caterpillar.

A rare Green Hairstreak caterpillar found at Marholm Field Bank Photo: Kathryn Parsons

 

And July wouldn’t be July without signs of a glowworm. They can be found in a large number of places, but one of the spots to definitely see them is Barnack Hills and Holes.  This picture was taken by Michael Jarman.

A glowworm at Barnack Hills and Holes Photo: Michael Jarman

Support museum idea

Langdyke trustee David Cowcill is calling on members and supporters to submit items for the Museum of Objects.

As a permanent record of the 20th Anniversary, the Trust will publish a book in September (to coincide with the Annual Meeting) showcasing the work of 2019 Artist in Residence Kathryn Parsons, who has so far engaged over 300 people with her art project and innovative “plant printing” techniques. 

Some results were on display in situ on the Etton-Maxey reserve a couple of weeks ago. 

Also in the book will be a Langdyke Museum of Objects – an attempt to capture an image and descriptive record of the items that trigger people’s thoughts of (and responses to) the natural world of John Clare Country.

David said: “We have been collecting ideas from the general public at all the recent anniversary events, and now want to throw open the process to all the members too. 

“So – please take a look at the attached invitation to submit an object (and within reason it can be ANY object that brings to mind our wonderful natural environment) – and to share your thoughts with others and for the future. “

The deadline for the book is getting close, so if possible please send the form before July 24 to editor@langdyke.org.uk

The form is below:

C4’s local bee campaign

Members of Langdyke may be interested to know that Channel 4 TV have commissioned a “Bee Campaign” for the Peterborough area.

Trust members and reserve managers have long understood that the insect world underpins many of the sights and sounds we enjoy.

The variety of habitats and plants we host encourages a huge variety of ”wild” insects and invertebrates, with an equally wide following  amongst members – judging by the Facebook images and “what is this” dialogues.

In the past 12 months, LCT have created 3 pallet-size bug hotels on the reserves, and also host several hives of domesticated pollinators at Etton – honey bees!

However the overall insect population is in decline. 

In addition to an expected loss of familiar birds (swifts, martins and swallows for example), it is also claimed that the consequent loss of pollination is a significant threat to world-wide and UK agriculture. 

It is in this context that Channel 4 TV have commissioned a “Bee Campaign”. In the best citizen science way, this will kick off with a “baseline count” led by a personality (in this case Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy’s Farm fame, pictured above) to take place in Peterborough on Thursday  July 18 and requiring lots of volunteers.

To take part, please contact the TV production company via beecampaign@redskyproductions.co.uk  or by phone to 0141 343 7782.

 

 

Visit to Bainton Heath

There is another opportunity to visit the unique Bainton Heath which is not open to the public.

A guided walk on Sunday, July 21 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.