Category Archives: In conversation with …

Go back in time with us

Believe it or not – this was Swaddywell Pit back in the nineties! Now we are inviting you to step back in time to 1999 and hear the story of how Langdyke came about at the first of our In Conversation with … events of 2021.

At that time Swaddywell Pit – now a thriving nature reserve –  was being used without planning permission as a track to race Volkswagens around. 

This is how the Evening Telegraph reported the pit’s  use …

How the Evening Telegraph reported the illegal use of Swaddywell as a race track

At that time four local residents – Rick Keymer, Mick Beeson, Chris Topper and Stuart Irons – decided to form Langdyke with the intention of starting the long-term reversal of years of environmental decline by acquiring and managing land for nature.

All four of them are still with the Trust today – some twenty or so years later.

On Wednesday, January 20 our popular online chat session returns with one of them talking about those early years and how the Trust has developed.

Work gets underway clearing rubbish from the site

Rick Keymer will be joined by the Trust’s current chair Richard Astle as they chat about the progress of Langdyke, where it is at today and what the future holds for nature.

You can join that session which starts at 7.30pm by clicking here .

Alternatively you can copy this link into your web browser

Please note that the link will not work until the event starts on January 20. 

Another old image shows these workers at a lime kiln which was on the original site.

Workers at a lime kiln on the site – thought to have been during the war years.


Art in the spotlight

The last online event of the year will feature two artists talking about their work – and there may even be a chance to spot a last minute Christmas present.

The latest in the series of online chats will see Langdyke In Conversation With… artists Anita Bruce and Julie Reid. The main image shows a piece of Anita’s work.

It will be on Wednesday, December 16 at 7.30pm.For several years Anita and Julie worked as Langdyke’s Artists in Residence as part of the View 5 group.

Many will remember their wonderful art installations at Swaddywell and open studio events held there and at Torpel.

As part of this online conversation via Zoom you will be able to hear about the artworks inspired by Langdyke, and what they’ve been doing since.

From a book of Starling Murmurations to painted Earth Poems… it will provide a fascinating insight in to the work of two inspirational, locally based artists whose work draws inspiration from the natural world.

You can find out more about them online here: or

To join the conversation please click here or copy this link into your browser:

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

Butterfly talk on agenda

Susannah O’Riordan – a key figure in butterly conservation and the Back from the Brink project in Rockingham Forest – is our next online guest.

 In Conversation with …. butterfly expert Susannah will be held via Zoom on Thursday, October 22 at 7.30pm.

Chequered skipper Carterocephalus palaemon

Among the important work Susannah has carried out has been the re-introduction of the Chequered Skipper (left) into woodland in the area after an absence of many years. Further work this year to help the re-inroduction was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This important project will obviously be part of the conversation with her.

The main picture (at the top) is of a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and was taken by Brian Lawrence

The event is the latest in a series of In conversation with …  online chats organised by Langdyke for its members during the Coronavirus pandemic when outside events have not been possible

To join the event click here or cut and paste the link below into your browser

Your do not need to dowload any software.  Please note the link will not work until the start time of the event.

Online chats are back

The popular Langdyke online events are back after a quick break for August.

Justin Tilley

On Tuesday, September 29 we will be  In Conversation with … Justin Tilley of Natural England who will be talking about National Nature Reserves in John Clare Countryside. their history, management and future,

Both Barnack Hills and Holes (main picture, above) and Castor Hanglands have NNR status.

Justin is also a Langdyke trustee.

The online event starts at 7.30pm. The session will be using the Zoom conferencing system which is free and does not require you to load any software.  All you have to do is click on this link or copy it into your web browser

Please note the link will not work until the meeting starts.

Future online events will include a conversation with butterfly expert Susannah O’Riordan who is project officer for the Back from the Brink Roots of Rockingham project and Professor Simon Kovesi of the Oxford Brookes University Department of Literature on John Clare poetry and nature.

Castor Hanglands in the Spring. Photo: Martin Parsons