Langdyke People

Welcome to our new section about Langdyke people.  We’ll be updating it from time to time.  

 

Richard Astle
Langdyke Chairman and Trustee

Langdyke chair Richard Astle with some of the Trust’s sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your role with the Trust what areas do you specialise/lead in?
Chairman – and therefore an expert in nothing, but passionate about nature.
What got you involved with the Trust? How long ago? 
Right back in 1999, I saw an article in the Helpston Chronicle announcing that Richard Keymer, Mick Beeson, Chris Topper and Stuart Irons were setting up a local nature conservation trust.  I had been involved in nature conservation for some years before moving to Peterborough in 1997 and just started a nest box project in Rice Wood, Helpston, so was keen to get involved.
Favourite place in nature: 
Oh my, what a tough one!  I think my default for a local walk is always to go to the Maxey Pits area and I have seen so many wonderful sights there.  But I wonder if my favourite place this year would be my garden with all its fantastic moths!
What do you most love about nature? 
It’s surprises.  Finding the first dark crimson underwing moth in Northamptonshire since 1905 in my garden.  Watching a lammergeier, a vulture of the high mountains, feeding in a muddy field in the Fens, finding hundreds of glow worms on the Cut, when previously there were fewer than 10.  And its intricacy – it is mind boggling to think about the life cycles of some insects such as gall wasps for instance, which have two breeding cycles, one of which produces only females – and once you start to read about the things that parasite on them, and the things that parasite the parasites…… Wow!
Things that make you happy … 
Otters splashing in the cut, starlings over Etton Maxey Pits, nightingales at the Hanglands and, perhaps my national favourite which always stops my heart when I first hear it as dusk falls,  nightjars churring on the heaths of Norfolk and Suffolk;
Things that really annoy you … 
Drones and artificial grass!  Why?
What is your hope for nature in the next ten years? 
We have a massive opportunity and I think Langdyke is leading the way by demonstrating the power of local action.  If every area had a Langdyke, then nature would be recovering fast.
Anything else you want to say? 
We are nature, let us never forget that – we are part of nature, not apart from nature.  


David Alvey

Langdyke Trustee

David Alvey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your role with the Trust what areas do you specialise/lead in?  Nature requires us to think on a landscape scale if we are to avoid just delaying its deterioration so my primary role is helping to develop the John Clare Countryside vision. Whilst essential and a great starting point conserving small pockets of nature reserves will not deliver the environmental change required to reverse the declining trends in nature that are all too obvious. Providing this nature rich countryside links perfectly into my other passion for improving my own, our members and our communities mental well being. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted our need for green space, I was already working to establish links with local mental health charities. The pandemic has just encouraged this collaboration and our need for a countryside that benefits nature and people.
What got you involved with the Trust?
Walking my dogs around the fantastically accessible countryside around Barnack built on my lifelong love of gardening and wildlife. This enjoyment made me determined to actively give something back to the local environment. This was firstly through the “Friends of Barnack Hills and Holes” and then, following its incorporation at the end of 2017, through Langdyke Countryside Trust.
Favourite place in nature:
That would have to be Orkney Islands in Scotland but almost any of the Scottish islands are a close second (not just because of the Whisky distilleries!). More locally it is simply the best maintained farmland in this area illustrating that we can live alongside nature if we have the right attitude and expectations.
What do you most love about nature?
The way it can always surprise you and so easily regenerate if we just stop fighting against it, work with it and provide it with enough space to make its own “decisions”.
Things that make you happy …
The simplest of natures wonders being available right on our doorstep. We might not have the most high profile species in our countryside, although there is an impressive array, but even the common species of birds, flora and fauna that we can see every day, if we take time to look, show off nature’s amazing capabilities. Just spending a few minutes watching a Red Kite over the garden has the same restorative powers and a lot lower carbon footprint than a trip to the Mull to see White Tailed Eagles. Another great example if we give nature a helping hand it will come and visit us!
Things that really annoy you …
The number of people wanting something to be done by someone else about a particular topic but not willing to get involved or change their own life choices to actually make it happen.
What is your hope for nature in the next ten years?
Locally, whilst a mountain range separating the Welland and Nene valley’s would be nice, more realistically a real change in the way we interact with our local environment as individuals and collectively. Sustainable use of our resources and a responsibility for our use of the local countryside could lay the foundations for a brighter future for ourselves, our children and their children. At a national and international level recognition that we all share the same planet and we all deserve to equally benefit from it.
Anything else you want to say?
A quote from Dave Goulson’s book The Garden Jungle has certainly made me think. “Most parents and grandparents will do anything for their children except, it seems, leave them a decent planet to live on”. I am still trying to adapt and change and it is not easy but every little step makes some small contribution.


Antony Mould 

Langdyke Board Secretary and Trustee

Antony Mould
In your role with the Trust what areas do you specialise/lead in?Taking minutes! Aside from that I’m not really sure yet as I’ve only just become a Trustee.
What got you involved with the Trust?
My first encounter with Langdyke was via the Wildlife Trust, when I was trying to find a nature reserve where my brother-in-law could take school children to do some practical work for their Duke of Edinburgh Award. However, my first real involvement was in 2012, when I carried out a baseline reptile survey for the Trust at Swaddywell Pit.
Favourite place in nature:
Given the chance I would always go back to Alaska – the scale of true wildnerness out there is breath-taking. But back home in the real world, Castor Hanglands has always been a special place for me, going to listen to the nightingales with my dad. I live in Barnack, so I really do need to give a shout out to Hill and Holes too.
What do you most love about nature?
Hmmm … octopuses are pretty cool. Or what about … how life has evolved and adapted to fill every little niche on our planet. There are millions of species out there, all with their own unique ways of life and individual stories to tell – it’s mind blowing.
Things that make you happy …
Crawling around in roof spaces and caves looking for bats. Listening to and identifying birds when I’m walking along, without realising I’m doing it. Finding long-tailed tit nests. Seeing all the different bugs and beasties that pop up in my scruffy little garden. Seeing my two small girls happily exploring when we’re out on a woodland walk
Things that really annoy you …
Questions like ‘what’s the point of wasps?’, and the underlying assumption that all things have a purpose that benefits us. Chris Packam did a really good segment on wasps recently, highlighting just how fascinating and misunderstood these animals really are.
What is your hope for nature in the next ten years?
I do find it difficult to be optimistic about the future, especially when you look at the state of nature globally. But at least climate change and wildlife extinction are now properly on the agenda. In the UK, I hope the changes to agricultural subsidies really do result in large-scale, long-term benefits for environment. I think that the emergence of ‘wilding’ is really exciting, and it’s encouraging to see landowners starting to embrace the idea