Category Archives: News

Turtle dove success

For months now a team of Langdyke volunteers have been laying feed at the Etton Maxey reserve in the hope of encouraging turtle doves to breed.

There have been several sightings of the birds – proof that the project has been a success.

These photos taken by John Parsonage are proof.  Great images captured near the Etton Maxey reserve car park.

 

Richard on TV talking nature

Langdyke chairman Richard Astle has been outlining an ambitious project to boost nature in his role as the chair of Natural Cambridgeshire.

Due to the rapid pace of development in the county, less than a 10th of the available land is currently designated as a wildlife habitat or natural space, and that is having an impact on health and the economy.

A new project hopes to double the amount of green space in Cambridgeshire.  You can see Richard talking about the project in an ITV Anglia News interview by clicking here

 

C4’s local bee campaign

Members of Langdyke may be interested to know that Channel 4 TV have commissioned a “Bee Campaign” for the Peterborough area.

Trust members and reserve managers have long understood that the insect world underpins many of the sights and sounds we enjoy.

The variety of habitats and plants we host encourages a huge variety of ”wild” insects and invertebrates, with an equally wide following  amongst members – judging by the Facebook images and “what is this” dialogues.

In the past 12 months, LCT have created 3 pallet-size bug hotels on the reserves, and also host several hives of domesticated pollinators at Etton – honey bees!

However the overall insect population is in decline. 

In addition to an expected loss of familiar birds (swifts, martins and swallows for example), it is also claimed that the consequent loss of pollination is a significant threat to world-wide and UK agriculture. 

It is in this context that Channel 4 TV have commissioned a “Bee Campaign”. In the best citizen science way, this will kick off with a “baseline count” led by a personality (in this case Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy’s Farm fame, pictured above) to take place in Peterborough on Thursday  July 18 and requiring lots of volunteers.

To take part, please contact the TV production company via beecampaign@redskyproductions.co.uk  or by phone to 0141 343 7782.

 

 

Exciting new arts project

 

 

 

An exciting new arts project has been launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Langdyke Countryside Trust.

The programme – called ‘Langdyke Stories’- is in partnership with Art Pop-Up and will see Kathryn Parsons become the Trust’s Artist in Residence.

Artist in Residence Kathryn Parsons with one of the Langdyke sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Langdyke chairman Richard Astle said: “It is great to have an artist in residence working with us to mark Langdyke’s 20th anniversary and to help us to encourage more local people to appreciate the sights and sounds of the countryside.  

“We look forward to working with Kathryn and Art Pop-Up to welcome a new audience to our nature reserves and hopefully to encourage them to take a keener interest in nature, the countryside and the work of Langdyke.

Supported by the Peterborough Communities Fund, Langdyke Stories, will see Kathryn undertake an artist’s residency, creating work inspired by the reserves.

Art Pop-Up will also be running a free art workshop programme taught by Kathryn, exploring the eco-printing she’s developing. 

As part of the project the team behind the scheme will be publishing a beautiful anniversary book to celebrate the project.

So if you’ve got any amazing photos of Langdyke do get in touch.

Museum of Objects

Langdyke is also launching a community history project ‘The Museum of Objects’ with items brought in by local people that say something about their relationship with the nature, landscape or history of the LCT area.

Do you have something that tells a story about the Langdyke reserves or your connection to the nature we protect?  We are looking for items and stories to feature in our ‘Langdyke Stories’ book, for example a beautifully worn old dog lead that demonstrates the daily countryside walks by one of our volunteers. Please do get in contact with organiser, Langdyke Trustee David Cowcill via the email address for this website: editor@langdyke.org.uk

Follow the progress of Langdyke Stories  on this website as well as on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Programme of arts events

The arts strand of this year’s celebrations has a full programme of events so we do hope you will join us at some of the following events:

Free drop-in arts workshop with Kathryn Parsons

  • June Community workshop, date to be confirmed, please email if your community group are interested in being involved info@artpopup.co.uk
  • Sat 15- Sun 16 June at Peterborough Heritage Festival
  • Fri 28 June (members only) at Langdyke Summer Festival, Torpel Field
  • Sat 29 June at Langdyke Summer Festival (open to all), Etton-Maxey reserve
  • Sat July 14 at the John Clare Society Festival, Helpston Scout Hut PE6 7DU
  • Fri 13 September at the Langdyke anniversary gathering at Castor Church and Cedar Centre PE5 7AX

Diary date: Local artist Sue Shields will also be hosting a free drop-in art workshop at the Langdyke Summer Festival plus there’ll be lots of other nature activities and family fun, make a date in your diary now!

Interested in becoming involved in the  arts programme?
Please do get in contact via info@artpopup.co.uk

Kathryn Parsons and her work

About our artist in residence, Kathryn Parsons

This is a sample of her work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn is a mixed media artist and visual story-teller. She creates intricate, intimate works that weave together tales of people, places and the natural world.

Kathryn’s work has been exhibited at The Victoria & Albert Museum, The National Centre for Craft & Design, Burghley House, Derby Museum and John Clare Cottage Museum. www.kathrynparsons.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Art Pop-Up

Art Pop-Up is a non-profit arts organisation based in Stamford.

We’ve been organising art activities and engagement programmes in the region for 8 years now; from arts festivals to residencies and exhibitions, community and education projects and kids’ summer art courses, including major projects such as Once Upon a Time and the WW1 Commemoration Programme in Stamford.

We use art as an interesting and enjoyable access point to encourage wider participation and understanding. As cultural engineers, we provide unique opportunities to make and promote art and culture regionally. You can find us at fb.com/artpopup.uk if you want to know more.

 

Wassail was great success

We all went a’wassailing … and what a day we had.

This great family event was held at Langdyke’s Etton High Meadow – attended by around 100 people.

Traditionally the event involves groups of wassailers drinking lots of alcohol and moving from orchard to orchard – singing, shouting, banging pots and pans and even firing shotguns in an effort to make as much noise as possible to awaken any sleeping tree.

Our event wasn’t anywhere near as riotous – but it proved a fantastic fun afternoon out for the family with dozens of children taking part in the wassailing as well as helping to build a bug house and make bird feeders out of apples.

There was also food, mulled wine and cider for the adults. Entertainment was provided via traditional music by Alan Wood and friends.

The site hosts a number of fruit trees and a recently planted community orchard with more than 70 fruit trees including local heritage varieties such as Lord Burghley and Peasgoods Nonsuch.

The idea of the wassail was to awaken them to bear bountiful crops of fruit next year.  Only time will tell if it worked!

Here are some of the images of the day, taken by Langdyke treasurer Brian Lawrence

 

Pressing apples to make juice

 

A recently planted apple tree in the community orchard gets some wassail encouragement
Enjoying the event
Braving the cold

 

Tree sparrows back at pit

It is always good to see new developments on our reserves – often as a result of the hard work put in by volunteers to encourage wildlife.

A welcome recent development has been the return of tree sparrows to Swaddywell Pit.

The tree sparrow is a close relative of our house sparrow, but a slightly tidier, prettier bird with a prominent chestnut cap and black cheek spot. At Swaddywell Pit there have been many sightings with up to nine on occasions using the bird feeders by the cabin.

Tree sparrow

When Langdyke established the reserve in 2005, flocks of more than 130 tree sparrows were recorded, but they had disappeared in recent years, so it is good to see them back. 

They seem to have a tendency to population booms and busts, but let’s hope they stay for a while.

High water levels could lead to a Spring bonus

Anyone visiting the Etton Maxey reserve will have been surprised by the high water levels over Christmas and the New Year period.

Most of the lower meadow areas have been knee-deep in water.

This was intentional – to a degree – but the amount of water on the site was exacerbated by the fact the on-site pump was out of action.

The pump normally controls water levels by siphoning water off the site into the nearby Maxey Cut. It will be back in action shortly.

In the meantime the water levels have become a haven for bird life.

Etton Maxey

Langdyke member Bob Titman said: “The wildfowl are certainly enjoying it.”

On one visit he spotted five pairs of Shovelers, 100+ Teal, around 50 Wigeon, 20 Mallard and two Mute swans

Other notable birds on the reserve the same  morning were 65 Fieldfare, 2 Song thrush, 1 Red kite  as well as a Common snipe and a Jack snipe.

Trust chairman Richard Astle said: “It looks very good.

“I am hoping that the impact of the raised water will create a lot more bare ground, mud and surface water in the spring, which should be good for waders in March/April!”

Why not plan a visit to the site – but don’t forget to take your wellies!