July in pictures

Nature has continued to enjoy the English summer – even if July’s weather has been a bit mixed at times.

The early hot weather has meant that a lot of species have been in abundance this year.

The ruddy darter in our main picture was out in all its spectacular glory at Swaddywell and proved a great image for Brian Lawrence to capture.

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

After the lockdown caused by Coronavirus our work parties started to get back to some normality – although restricted in numbers and doing work with socially distancing precautions in place.

Work party, Etton Maxey, July 2020
Photo: Keren Thomson

Across all of our reserves there was plenty of nature to capture. This scene at Swaddywell was photographed by Ian Wilson.

Swaddywell, July 2020
Photo: Ian Wilson

Here are just some of the photos taken by our members and supporters.

Chalkhill blue, Barnack Hills and Holes Photo: Steve Lonsdale
Common Century at Etton Maxey
Photo: Martin Parsons
Elephant Hawk Moth, Torpel
Photo: Malcolm Hillier
Green Veined white, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Ian Wilson
Peacock, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Matthew Webb
Poplar Grey moth, Etton Maxey
Photo: Bob Titman




Nature gets helping hand

Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence

Work has started on flailing the meadows at a number of Langdyke’s reserves to ensure we maintain a wide spectrum of outcomes for nature.

Although to some the work looks heavy-handed, the maintenance is crucial if we are to maintain the areas for future seasons.

Tractors have been out and about in recent days on many of our meadow areas.  Although they are grazed for many months by the Langdyke sheep they still need some extra heavy attention from time to time.

In a post on Facebook, responding to minor criticism of the timing of the flailing and its impact on Skylark nests, ecological consultant and botanist Sarah Lambert said: “The grass cutting looks damaging at first sight but if you continually cut grass late in the year it becomes dominated by rank species and you lose many of the smaller wildflowers including orchids.

“Many of the road verges round Peterborough have lost a lot of their botanical interest because they are regularly cut in September, even though the cuttings are removed.

“Cutting part of a site early helps to maintain botanical diversity, while leaving areas of untouched grassland for invertebrates and nesting birds. Interestingly, some of the best sites I know for skylark are hay meadows normally cut in June. Skylarks nest on the ground, in vegetation which is 20–50 cm high. This vegetation must be open enough to give the birds easy access to the ground. As long as no cutting takes place between early April and end of May, skylark populations shouldn’t be impacted (RSPB) and in future years the sward should be more suitable for nesting.”

Trustee Brian Lawrence has been out and about at the Etton Maxey reserve to capture photographic evidence of the result of the actions.

Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence
This area has been ploughed by David Cowcill to encourage wild flowers at, Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence
Plenty of visitors to Etton Maxey. July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence



Harriet our next guest

Wildlife artist Harriet Mead is to be Langdyke’s next online guest as part of the popular fortnightly  In conversation with … series.

Harriet Mead – Photo: Brian Lawrence

Harriet – who is the President of the Society of Wildlife Artist – is famous for her work using animals and birds as her subjects.

She will be chatting online with Langdyke chair Richard Astle next Wednesday, July 29 at 5pm using the Zoom conferencing system. You can find details of how to log on are at the bottom of this story.

She says on her website: “Animals and birds are the inspiration for my work.  From an early age I developed a keen interest in wildlife due to the influence of my late father, Chris Mead, who was a well known author and broadcaster.

“His passion for birds and nearly forty years of research, and latterly publicity for the British Trust for Ornithology gave me an appreciation of the natural beauty of birds and animals.

“From an early age I was encouraged to observe British wildlife and was fortunate to have cats, dogs and horses to watch, draw and enjoy.  I have used personal experience and observation to provide the subject matter for my work and have traveled to various places around the world, including Asia and Africa.”

Harriet uses steel to create her sculptures because she says it enables her to capture the movement of the subject and balance the pieces in a way that would be impossible using a more traditional material.

She adds: “I try very hard to capture the essence of the animal without sentimentality and use the steel in a sympathetic way to outline the strength and muscle structure of the subject.  I want to capture something of the quiet presence of an animal and not necessarily the drama.  I use scrap steel as the rust creates a wonderful organic surface sympathetic to the subject.”

Most of her larger work is made using sheet steel with scrap pieces incorporated for details.  These sculptures are often life sized and are sometimes mistaken for bronzes or even the real thing.

You can join the online conversation by clocking on this link: or copying the following into your browser


You do not need to download any software and the session will not be open until just before 5pm on Wednesday.

A dragonfly sculpture by Harriet Mead
Photo: Brian Lawrence

Project to help wellbeing






Langdyke members are being urged to  consider taking part in a citizen science project that supports the fact that engagement in nature is good for your wellbeing.

Trustee David Alvey is urging you to bring the project to the attention of others. with the aim of discovering the importance of nature-based activities on our wellbeing.

There is more about the  project – called Nature up close and personal: a wellbeing experiment – here  www.ceh.ac.uk/natureupclose


During this period of lockdown, many of us have learned (or re-discovered)  the importance of engaging with  nature to our happiness and  wellbeing.

But how do different types of nature activities affect us? To help answer this question, join in with hundreds across Britain to take part in the research project.

You’ll learn about some simple nature-based activities, get to experience nature up close and personal, and answer a few questions about your experiences. So, whether you’re a nature nerd or nature usually passes you by – this one’s for you!

Together we can discover how our wellbeing is affected by noticing and connecting with nature. Take part today: www.ceh.ac.uk/natureupclose#CloseToNature.

All the activities are suitable for adults or for families to do together, but the organisers are asking only adults to take part in the wellbeing survey.

The project is open for the next 6 weeks, so anyone can join in at any time. People taking part will be asked to do a simple nature-based activity five times over the week they take part, and let organisers know how it impacted them.

Please pass on the link to anyone you know who would be interested in participating and let David know if you do join in at david.alvey@langdyke.org.uk.

Note the deadline is 25th August

Our wellbeing page is here


Time Team expert is guest

A leading member of the hugely popular Time Team archaeology programme  is our next online guest speaker.

A conversation with Francis Pryor will take place on Wednesday, July 15 at 5pm using the Zoom conferencing platform.

Francis will no doubt be asked about his work as the lead archaeologist on the ‘dig’ at the site of what is now Langdyke’s Etton Maxey Pits nature reserve.

His work has seen him excavate several major sites, mostly in the Fens.

As he explains in a blog on his website: “I’ve tried to bring archaeology to a wider audience, with a number of books, radio and television programmes, of which Time Team is the best known.”

When not writing or digging, Francis is also a sheep farmer and keen gardener. He has a farm in the area.

His love of the Fens – together with his work excavating sites across the area – is the subject of a recent book The Fens – Discovering England’s Ancient Depths.

He is an expert in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Britain , his most famous discovery being the Flag Fen site on the outskirts of Peterborough.

He was awarded an MBE in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to tourism.

To join the online conversation with Francis you can click here or paste this into your browser https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82866814166pwd=amNYb2tlZE1hU2l3VjhVQ2JtZmVOdz09

You do not need to download any new software.  Please note that the link will not work until the session starts at 5pm on July 15.

Annual meeting is online




The Langdyke annual meeting – postponed earlier this year because of the Coronavirus lockdown – is to be held as an online event on Wednesday, July 22 at 5pm.

Access to the meeting will be via the Zoom conferencing system.  The link for the meeting, which is only open to members,  is here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83100578531?pwd=dTZSNHBzM1gvakJocW1icFAxNy96Zz09

All members have to do to attend is click on the link. You do not need to download any software.  Please note the link will not be active until 5pm on the day of the meeting.

If you have not seen the annual review for 2019 you can download a copy from the website here 

In the meantime, Treasurer Brian Lawrence has an important message about business at the meeting in relation to the election and re-election of Trustees.

  • He writes:

    “Under the new scheme of governance set up when the Langdyke Countryside Trust became a registered charity there is a Board of Trustees, responsible for managing the Trust, including deciding what the Trust should be doing and how it should spend the money it raises. Although there can be up to twelve trustees on the Board, we currently have three vacancies for new trustees. Trustees are elected by the whole membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and serve, initially, for a three year period. They are eligible to seek re-election by the AGM at the end of their period in office. At the forthcoming AGM three trustees will be retiring, although two have agreed to seek re-election. However, we are looking to strengthen the representation of members on the Board of Trustees and are therefore looking for volunteers to step forward to serve as trustees.”What is involved in being a Trustee?
    All trustees sit on the Main Board of the Trust which meets six times throughout the year, normally every other month. Trustees also normally sit on one of the two programme committees, Conservation or People and Communities, or they sit on one of the Area Groups which cover the four areas in which the Trust works. These normally meet in the intervening months. The Main Board is the major decision making body for the trust setting the direction and objectives  as well as its policies, major procedures and budget for the programme committees and area groups to work to.  The most important functions of Trustees is to help set the direction of work and the objectives of the Trust. This is done through setting management plans, policies and by approving an annual budget to indicate how the resources of the Trust will be used in the forthcoming year. However, as Langdyke Countryside Trust has no staff and is run entirely by volunteers, trustees do get involved with the day-to day activities of the Trust. These could involve helping to arrange working parties on Trust reserves, organising events, such as meetings, or walks and other similar activities.
    If you would like further details about the duties and obligations of a Trust please see the excellent publication ‘The Essential Trustee” on the Charity Commission’s website here Who is eligible to be a Trustee?
    You must be a member of the Trust, with your subscription lfully paid at the time of the AGM, and you must be least 18 years old to be a trustee of  Langdyke Countryside Trust. You must also be interested in the objectives and work of the Trust. You must be properly appointed following the procedures. You must not act as a trustee if you are disqualified, unless authorised to do so by a waiver from the Charity Commission. The reasons for disqualification are: 
    • being bankrupt (undischarged) or having an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) 
    • having an unspent conviction for certain offences (including any that involve dishonesty or deception) 
    • being on the sex offenders’ register.

    If you have any doubt about your eligibility you can contact Brian Lawrence (Hon. Treasurer) or read the notes on automatic disqualification guidance for charities, published on the Charity Commission’s website, which explains the disqualification rules in more detail. 
    if you would like to volunteer to become a Trustee you will need to get your completed nomination form to Brian Lawrence (email : treasurer@langdyke.org.uk) by Monday July 20If you would like to consider becoming a trustee, you can discuss it further with either the Chair of the trust, Richard Astle, at chair@langdyke.org.uk or the Treasurer, Brian Lawrence, at treasurer@langdyke.org.uk, who will  answer any queries and explain the nomination procedure.