Clare talk date change

The date of John Clare expert Professor Simon Kovesi’s online chat with Langdyke has changed.

Simon (pictured, above)  was due to be the speaker on November 25  but this has now been moved to Wednesday, December 2 at 7.30pm.

The conversation is particularly appropriate as  the Trust continues to push ahead with its John Clare Countryside vision.

The peasant poet from Helpston regularly wrote about the local landscape in his poetry.  Simon will be talking about Clare, his poetry and links to nature during the conversation. 

Professor Simon Kovesi’s 2017 book John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History

His two most recent books are Palgrave Advances in John Clare Studies,  (link) published only recently, and  John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History  (link) which was published in 2017 and which he will be talking about during the online session. 
Simon is the lead of an ongoing creative project based on Clare, opera and poetry workshops across England, and a collection of work produced so far, with a final musical planned for 2021.  There are more details about the project online  here 

Simon is currently head of English and Modern Languages  at Oxford Brookes University, having previously studied and/or taught at the universities of Glasgow, Dundee, Nottingham Trent and North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA). He is vice chair of the John Clare Society. His PhD was entitled Sexuality, Agency and Intertextuality in the Later Poetry of John Clare (Nottingham Trent, 1999).

The conversation will be an online event.  You can join by clicking here or pasting this link into your browser

New murmuration video

They are back.  And the this year’s murmuration of starlings has been incredibly spectacular.

Langdyke member Michael Jarman took this video of the birds over the Trust’s Etton Maxey nature reserve§§.

Visitors who have already witnessed the sight with around 20,000 birds say the best time to see it is between 3.45pm and 4.30pm.  Places to view include the Maxey Cut, Woodgate Lane, Maxey and the Etton Maxey nature reserve.

To view the video please click  here

Reserves are still open

Langdyke has cancelled all work parties following the Government’s latest Coronavirus lockdown announcement – but our reserves remain open for people to exercise.
The cancellation of the work parties will last for the period the measures are in place.  In addition all of our bird hides will be closed.
The Trust has  also made arrangements to look after its sheep in accordance with the guidelines.
Chairman Richard Astle said: “Of course, we want you to continue to enjoy the countryside and take exercise in line with the Government rules and as a result our reserves that are usually open to the public will continue to be so.”
The online programme with guest speakers will continue. Details about them are on our website here 
In addition it has been suggested that some members may appreciate the re-starting of the regular weekly online chats held during the first lockdown. This will happen if if there is enough demand.
If you think you might like to take part (it will be for an hour once a week) then please send an email to membership secretary Peter Leverington at:
In the meantime please stay safe.

October in pictures

Here it is … with a wing span of more than eight feet this Lammergeier – commonly known as a bearded vulture – is our image of the month.

We’re breaking our own rules. Normally we only feature photos which have been taken in and around Langdyke reserves.  But we’re making an exception this month.

The bearded vulture, named Vigo, was spotted recently only a few miles away between Crowland and Spalding.

With a wing span of 2.5m (8.2ft), the bird is rarely seen in the UK and is normally found in Alpine regions. So when Sarah Lambert posted these great photos on our Facebook page we couldn’t resist making them our image of the month for October.

The Beaded Vulture on it’s stopover near Crowland Photo: Sarah Lambert

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 October. You can click on them to enhance your viewing.

Here’s a striking image of a fungi spotted during a walk by Brian Lawrence around Swaddywell. It is a Yellow Staghorn.

Yellow Staghorn seen at Swaddywell Pit Photo: Brian Lawrence

The autumn has brought about the usual transformation to our reserves with a host of golden colours as the trees start to shed their foliage.

And Kathryn Parsons on a trip to Torpel found even more colour by being on the spot to capture this magnicifent shot of a rainbow over Helpston.

Right place at the right time – Kathryn Parsons captured this rainbow over the Torpel site

Julie Budnik-Hillier captured this shot of a green woodpecker trying to hide away behind a tree on the Etton Maxey reserve.

A green woodpecker at Etton Maxey reserve Photo by Julie Budnik-Hillier

This splendid moth has been identified as a Merveille du Jour by Malcolm Hillier who took the photo.

Merveille du Jour moth seen at Castor Hanglands. Photo by Malcolm Hillier

As usual, it’s been a busy time on our reserves with our volunteers putting in plenty of hard graft to keep them in tip-top condition.

This is a work party at Castor Hanglands clearing scrub to allow  new growth in the Spring. The photo was taken by Mike Horne.

A work party at Castor Hanglands

At Etton Maxey our volunteers have  been putting in some back-breaking work to clear the invasive crassula weed from the water edges in the hope that the mud that’s left will attract some wading birds.

A work party tacking the invasive Crassula at Etton Maxey

Work on the reserve has been helped during the half term period by students from Stamford Endowed Schools who have cleared hawthorn and willow and crassula as part of their efforts to achieve Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme medals.

And finally, Bob Titman made a rare find – the nest of a Harvest Mouse.

This Harvest Mouse next was found at Swaddywell by Bob Titman