Tag Archives: Featured

Help save this butterfly

There’s a chance for you to be involved in a project which will bring one of nature’s most beautiful butterflies back from virtual extinction in this country.

The Rockingham Forest ‘Back from the Brink’ project has seen the Chequered Skipper take to the wing in England for the first time in more than 40 years.

Now there are plans to hopefully re-introduce the butterfly back into Castor Hanglands this summer, where the last specimens were seen on the wing in 1973.

Langdyke is looking for volunteers to help with the preparation for this to happen.

There will be a working party on Tuesday, March 12 at Castor Hanglands – designed to help the ‘Back from the Brink’ project team prepare for the reintroduction.

The aim is to start to create suitable conditions for the Chequered Skipper to be re-introduced and thrive.

The work party will be at the Hanglands from 10am until 3.30pm that day.

Anyone wanting to volunteer is advised to make sure they are wearing the appropriate clothing for the weather, sturdy footwear and a pair of gardening gloves. A packed lunch is also advised.

Langdyke trustee Mike Horne is the person to contact if you need more information. You can email him at mikehorne@langdyke.org.uk

Langdyke’s annual meeting last year heard from Roots of Rockingham project officer Susannah O’Riordan about the work that had taken place at Rockingham.

It all started in Belgium, where – after being granted the necessary licence, a team managed to find and collect just a few dozen of the butterflies, and then carefully transported them back to this country.

In May of last year 42 adult Chequered Skipper butterflies were released into Rockingham Forest, and flew in England for the first time in – appropriately enough, 42 years. TV personality and Conservation expert Chris Packham was on hand to witness the reintroduction.

After that a dedicated band of volunteers were on site every day following the release to monitor the behaviour of the butterflies, looking at how far they moved from the release points and seeing if they could observe any egg-laying behaviour.

Only time will tell whether the project is a success and whether similar success can be gained at the Hanglands.

How to get there:

Meet at the Natural England compound in the Hanglands, off Helpston Road. Drive through the double black metal gates and down the track around 400 metres and you will see the wooden buildings in front of you

Chris Packham interview

Chris Packham

TV wildlife expert Chris Packham was at the Rockingham Forest launch. You can watch one of the interviews he gave here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie-eHKPVpsA

 

About Rockingham Forest

Rockingham Forest is a collection of ancient woodlands that once formed William the Conqueror’s favourite hunting forest. It is situated in North East Northamptonshire between Stamford and Kettering.

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

 

New date for Bainton walk

The walk to explore Bainton Heath – called off because of high winds – has been re-arranged for Saturday, March 9.

Bainton Heath – described as ‘fragile’ because of its unique content – is not open to the public.

So this walk to the  site will give participants the chance to explore a unique site, which includes a small wood and a large pond.

Photos by Brian Lawrence

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 the one on February 9. 

Organisers Chris Topper and Stuart Irons will be on hand to point out the many items of interest during the walk which will leave the Torpel car park at 1.30pm – returning at around 4pm.

Anyone needing more information can email Stuart at nebria@ntlworld.com

 

More details about Bainton Heath here