Category Archives: Events

Work party invites

Volunteers are needed to help out at three work parties in the Castor area.

The first is on Monday February 3  at Marholm Field Bank, near Castor.
Organiser Mike Horse said: “This is a rare opportunity to come along  when we will be teaming up with Highways England.
“The good work that we did there in 2018 and 2019 needs to have a bit of ‘tweaking’ done, as some of the invasive scrub has now re-emerged, and needs to be taken out.
“There are also small patches of grassland emerging within the wonderful wild flower meadow which we need to cut down and take out before they smother the wildflowers. Naturally we will have to take great care because with all this relatively mild weather we’re having lately the rosettes of the many orchids that flourish here are starting to develop.”
Meet at 10am until 3:30pm (or for as long as you are free). Tea and Coffee provided but please bring along a packed lunch if you can stay all day. Sturdy footwear and weather appropriate clothing is advised, and please bring along your gardening gloves. Email me at if you’re not sure of the details of where to park and meet up.


Langdyke is lending a helping hand with the teams from Natural England on Tuesday February 18 at Castor Hanglands National Nature Reserve, where we will be tacking invasive scrub in the Ailsworth Heath area.

It will be a 10am start until 3:30pm. Please use the entrance to Castor Hanglands off the Helpston Road, which is through the double black metal gates and then drive for 400 metres until you reach the NE compound, where the cars will be parked.

Please wear appropriate clothing for the weather, and either wellington boots or walking boots as it may well still be quite wet and muddy. Tea and coffee will be provided, but please bring along some of your favourite homemade sandwiches and two large pieces of cake if you are able to stay with us  all day.’

On Wednesday February 26 , again at Castor Hanglands NNR to support the ‘Back from the Brink’ Butterfly Conservation team.
This work party is  aimed at improving the habitats for many of the butterflies found at the Hanglands
Please use the entrance to Castor Hanglands off the Helpston Road, which is through the double black metal gates and then drive for 400 metres until you reach the NE compound, where the cars will be parked. 10am start until 3:30pm.
Please email if you would like further directions.
Please wear appropriate clothing for the weather, and either wellington boots or walking boots as it may well still be quite wet and muddy. Tea and coffee will be provided, but please bring along a packed lunch if you are able to stay all day.
Don’t forget that there are always work parties going on at our Swaddywell and Etton/Maxey reserves weekly and fortnightly. We would absolutely love it if you found a couple of hours one day to come along and lend a hand.
We’re a friendly bunch, and always finish the session with tea and coffee and cake. If you think it’s something that you could do, please email for further details.





Spectacular bird walk

Langdyke members are invited to Frampton Marsh – the premier RSPB Reserve in Lincolnshire – for a special walk on Saturday, February 1.

Located just south of the Haven on the River Witham, approximately five miles from Boston, the reserve consists of a number of freshwater scrapes and grasslands together with a large area of saltmarsh, bordering the Wash. 

During the winter months it is home to a large number of waterfowl and wading birds. In most winters the number of birds is breath-taking with over 6,000 Lapwing, 5,000 Golden Plover, 2,500 Brent Geese, and large numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal and Pintail.

Event organiser and leader Brian Lawrence says: “Geese such as Pink-footed are also occasionally found on the grass fields and in the last few winters a small number of Whooper Swans have over-wintered at Frampton.

“If the weather is good there is often a spectacular murmuration of Starling in the late afternoon. 

“The grass fields are also home to hunting Merlin and Peregrine and it is a wonderful spectacle to see the birds rises in great flocks as the Peregrine passes overhead. On the saltmarsh we often see Marsh and Hen Harrier as well as Short-eared Owl.”

The number of birds on the reserve is dictated by the tides as birds feed on the mud-flats of the Wash at lower tides before being driven off by the rising tide.

Brian says: “The best Saturday is February 1 as High tide is at 10:28. However this will require being at the Frampton by 10:30 and I therefore suggest that we need to leave Helpston by 9:30am.”

The walk will be lead by Brian, who is a volunteer at Frampton Marsh RSPB, and knows the reserve very well.

You can either meet at Helpston Post Office at 9:30am on February 1 or at the Car Park at Frampton RSPB (O.S. Grid TF356392) at 10:15 (approx).  (The nearest Post Code is PE20 1AY)

The paths are quite good but can be muddy in winter. There is one set of steps down from the sea-wall. There will be a walk of about 2.2 Miles (3.5Km), including stops in the three hides.

Frampton can be very cold, especially if the wind is from the North, North East or East, so you will need to wrap up well and stout boots will be needed. We will probably be out for 3 hours walking around the reserve. 

There is a visitors centre at Frampton which is heated, has toilets, and serves hot drinks, rolls, biscuits etc but no cafe.  Therefore if you are staying to the afternoon you’ll need to bring your own packed lunch. 

Entrance charge for the reserve is £2.00 per person or £1.00 per child. (RSPB members free).

If you are interested in coming to this wonderful reserve please contact Brian  on 07798 683503 or email 

Make a date:  Saturday February 1.
 (9:30am at Helpston Post Office or 10:15am at Frampton Reserve Car Park)(Nearest Post Code PE20 1AY)

Pictured above are Dunlin and Knot in flight. Photo: Brian Lawrence

Events for 2020

A New Year means a new set of events are on offer from the Langdyke Countryside Trust.

2019 proved to be an exciting year with the organisation holding a number of celebratory events to make its 20th anniversary.

They included the launch of the Trust’s vision for nature, setting out a plan to preserve the heritage and landscape across John Clare Countryside in Tribland.  You can find details of the Trust’s Vision for Nature on the website here.

There were also events at the Torpel Manor site on the edge of Helpston and at the Etton Maxey nature reserve (pictured, above) as well as a series of arts workshops at groups and schools across the area.

In 2020 the Trust – which is a registered charity – will continue with its vital work, looking after its series of nature reserves across the area.

At the same time there are number of events open to all to attend. 

They include:

January 1: The traditional New Year’s Day walk, this year along the River Nene from a meeting point at Castor Church (1pm).

February 1: A visit to RSPB Frampton, near Boston with a chance to see winter waders, ducks and birds of prey. Meet outside Helpston Post Office at 9.30am.

April: An indoor evening talk on a wide range of local matters.  More details soon on the Trust website.

May 14: Evening walk around Castor Hanglands with a chance to hear the spectacular sound of the nightingale.

May 28:  Evening guided orchid walk at Southorpe Meadow and Barnack Hills and Holes.

June 9: Evening guided walk around Swaddywell Nature Reserve

June 27: Summer at Barnack Hills and Holes with guided walks and activities for young and old.

July 18: Afternoon walk around Old Sulehay Nature Reserve taking a look at all things botanical.

August: Summer holiday afternoon fun for all the family at Etton Maxey Nature Reserve.  All kinds of activities that will help the school holidays whizz past.

Families and individuals are welcome to attend any of the events.. Admission to them is free to Langdyke members.  Non-members are asked to make a small donation in the region of £3.  

Because of its charitable status the Trust is reliant on its teams of volunteers who meet weekly at Swaddywell and Etton.

New volunteers are always welcome. It gives you a chance to get out and enjoy the fresh air while at the same time supporting nature and carrying out tasks that will help to promote the natural world around us. The work is not too onerous and each working party ends with tea or coffee, a piece of cake and  a chance to chat.

TV personality at event

Our friends at the  Wildlife Trust have a big event in January featuring TV personality Gordon Buchanan.

The audience at the event will be treated to spell-binding stories of the natural world told by a man who has experienced danger  face to face.

Animal families and me with Gordon Buchanan is at Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts, Huntingdon on January 16 at 7pm.

Tickets are £22 (£17 for Wildlife Trust members).  You can book at




Step into the New Year

Make a resolution to step into 2020 by joining our traditional New Year’s Day walk.

This year the walk will start at Castor and – weather permitting – give you the chance to brush off the cobwebs with a walk along the River Nene to Waternewton.

The preferred route is an amble along the river bank, an easy but possibly muddy, three miles. The problem is the route, taking in the Nene and over a weir before returning,  frequently floods in winter so it may not be possible on the day.

The route of the New Year’s Day walk from Castor to Waternewton

So organiser Elaine Wakerley has another walk up her sleeve should it not be possible.

Anyone wanting to take part should meet at St Kyneburgha Church, Castor (pictured above) ready for a 1pm start.

There is parking along the roadway and at the rear of the village hall.
Clothing and footwear relevant to the conditions is suggested.

Enjoy a Wednesday walk

A Wednesday afternoon walk in December hopes to take in the spectacle of a fabulous Starling murmuration.

The murmurations happen during the winter months – usually from October to March – but peak in numbers in December when more birds come over from Europe and join our resident birds.

The December walk is on Wednesday, December 4 between 2pm and about 4.30pm.

The walk is being led by Bob Titman.

Anyone wanting to take part should meet at the Etton Maxey reserve car park in time for a 2pm start.

Bob says the route is yet to be finally decided but expects it to proceed from the parking area through the reserve on to the footpath between Vergette’s and Slurry pit through the Etton pits complex returning along the Maxey Cut.

Bob said: “The exact route can be decided nearer the date dependant upon what is around at the time.”

Anyone planning to take part is advised to make sure they wear clothing and footwear appropriate to the weather conditions.

The event is free for Langdyke members but non-members are asked to make a suggested donation of £3.

All set for fungal foray

The Langdyke Fungal Foray has become an unmissable annual walkabout.

So there are likely to be plenty of participants for this year’s event on  Sunday,  October 6.

Leader David Cowcill says the success of the foray  – likely to be through Castor Hanglands  – will depend to a large extent on weather and what delights may be on view.

David said: “Cap and stem fungi are hard to find this year because it has been too warm and dry. But tree-borne bracket fungi are plentiful.”

He gives, as an example, this chicken-in-the-woods fungi (pictured below) on a plum tree in the John Clare Cottage garden.  The photo was taken by Sharon of JCC.

If you would like to attend then you  will need to meet at Southey Woods Car Park for a 1.30 prompt start. The guided walk is free to members.  Footwear appropriate to the weather conditions is advised.


Vision for nature event images

Here are just a few images of the main speakers at our great vision for nature event – the culmination of Langdyke’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

Photos by Brian Lawrence

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.

Friday evening at Torpel

A performance of Romeo and Juliet, music, morris dancing and poetry renditions are just some of the highlights of Friday’s Langdyke 20th anniversary celebrations at Torpel Manor Field.

The Lamphouse Theatre Suitcase Shakespeare presentation of Romeo and Juliet is likely to be one of the key highlights of the evening.

Romeo and Juliet


The event – the first of two over the weekend- is between 6pm and 9pm on the Torpel site at the edge of Helpston.

The plan is to enjoy a summer’s evening on the site of Roger de Torpel’s Norman manor house with music, drama, poetry and Morris dancing.  Bring a picnic and something to sit on.  We will be providing some drinks in return for donations – beer, wine and soft drinks.

The programme for the evening in the paddock area around the Cabin is subject to change, but will run something like this:

6pm Opening of event  

6-9pm Refreshments and bring your own picnic

6-9pm Langdyke exhibition

6-8pm Arts workshop  (members only) in  the cabin

6-630pm Music with Dave Maylor

630-7pm Morris Dancing

7pm Guided walk of Torpel, tour of meadow

7-720pm Poetry with Kealey Mills and friends

720-750pm Music with Dave Maylor

8- 820pm Poetry with Kealey Mills and friends Cabin area 

820pm- Romeo and Juliet extracts

9pm Close

Please note; Parking is restricted, with some spaces at the Helpston Garden Centre, but access to the field is strictly on foot (or by bike).

If you come by car, you will need to park either at the garden centre or in the village and walk up to the reserve, entering along through the pedestrian gate off King Street.

There are toilets on site.