Category Archives: Events

Happy Birthday – to us!

Pic: Pond Dipping at Swaddywell Pit NR

It is going to be a big year for the Langdyke Countryside Trust in 2019 with special events to celebrate our 20th birthday.

The celebration programme includes a series of events designed to appeal to anyone who has an interest in the countryside around where they live.

And many of the happenings are aimed directly at giving the whole family a chance to enjoy time together in the countryside.

The highlight of the programme is a 20th anniversary weekend of events in June next year.

Over the weekend of June 28-29  we will be celebrating twenty years of positive local action for nature and heritage across all of our reserves.

More details will be announced in the New Year, so keep watching this site.

Some observers have commented that Langdyke is an organisation just for bird watchers.  Not so.

The reserves it maintains and events it promotes for members – and non-members – gives everyone the chance to engage with nature in whatever form they want.

Whether it’s a family walk in the countryside, a summer picnic with wildlife, a chance to explore nature close up or the opportunity to burn off some of those calories by joining a countryside working party – there is something on offer for everyone.

Founded in 1999, Langdyke now manages six nature reserves – a total of 180 acres of land – has more than 300 household members and even its own flock of sheep.

It is a purely voluntary organisation committed to making a difference to the countryside around us all.

Trust chairman Richard Astle, who lives in Helpston, wrote in the recent annual report: “We want to live in an area where nature is at the heart of our lives. Where swifts and swallows are a central feature of our summer evenings, where otters continue to enthral people as they play in the Maxey Cut, where bees and other insects thrive, not decline, and where there are far more, not less, ponds, meadows, wild flowers, hedgerows and trees.”

Although the organisation’s membership is thriving there is always room for more.  Anyone interested in joining can make contact through this website or the Langdyke Facebook page.

There is also the chance to get your hands dirty and make direct contact with nature by joining one of the working parties which meet weekly at Swaddywell and fortnightly at the Etton/Maxey reserves. They involve helping with a variety of tasks (the work isn’t back-breaking), making new friends and having a chat over a cuppa with like-minded people. There are also working events at Castor Hanglands and Barnack Hills and Holes.

You can usually find details of forthcoming working parties on the Langdyke Countryside Trust Facebook page.

Full details of all of our 2019 events can be found on the website here:

Dark Skies

Picture: star trails over Barnack

There’s a very special and unique event for Langdyke in December when we host a dark skies evening, weather permitting, at Castor Hanglands.

What makes this event – starting at 7pm on Thursday, December 13 – more special is that it is timed to hopefully allow perfect views of the spectacular Geminid meteor shower. The shower will reach its maximum rate of activity the following evening on December 14, meaning the timing of the Langdyke event couldn’t be better. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from December 7 to 16.

Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids. As pebble-sized pieces of debris collide with the Earth, they burn up at an altitude of around 70 to 100 km, appearing as shooting stars.

Experts predict the maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 100 per hour.

However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this, but worthwhile all the same.

Perseid meteors and a satellite over Barnack August 2018 Click picture to enlarge

Numbers attending the event are limited. so if you would like to attend please book your place by email to Richard Perkins at

Don’t forget to bring a torch with you if you attend the event. Entrance is through the gate on the Helpston road.

Directions to Castor Hanglands.

From Ailsworth take the Helpston road north (over the Castor bypass). In about 1.5 miles turn left through the black, double metal gates and go down a track for 200 metres to the Forestry Commission part of Castor Hanglands. The track veers left, but keep going straight ahead for another 100 metres. At the gate are the Natural England buildings which is where cars can be parked.

Your contacts for the event will be Mike Horne and Richard Perkins

Castor Hanglands is a Natural England Reserve.