A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Friday 20 August 2010


The Comma butterfly has made a remarkable recovery in England after being almost extict in 1920 and in now common in the South.
Caterpillars feed on stinging nettles and hops so leave the odd patch of nettles for them.

Sunday 15 August 2010


Hedges are now red with haws the fruit of the hawthorn. An abundant crop is supposed to herald a harsh winter to come so watch out. The hawthorn is a useful species for stockproof hedging and first became abundant with the enclosure of fields in the 18th 19th century.


Autumn is approaching and the hedges are full of fruits and berries. The bramble is now bearing its delicious blackberries ready to eat from the hedge or harvest and take home for jam or blackberry and apple pie.

Wednesday 11 August 2010


Teasels are biennial plants often found in damp places. This means that the life cycle of the plant takes two years. They grow to around 2 metres high and can often be seen in these parts when travelling around even by car as they are so striking. The flower heads apparently have about 2000 tiny flowers which are visited by insects including butterflies for the nectar. In the autumn and winter watch out for flocks of goldfinch which visit the teasel heads for the seeds.

Teasels or Fuller's Teasel as they were also known, were important in the Cotswolds where they were used as a natural comb in the wool trade for raising the nap on the woollen fabric. In the 20th Century they were replaced by metal combs but it is said that the natural teasels are still prefered by some as they produce a much better result.

Saturday 7 August 2010


The delicate white Thistledown can now be spotted floating in the breeze as thistles spread their seed

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Dappled Shade

Most of the woodland plants have died back beneath the canopy of leaves as here all you can see is last year's leaves on the woodland floor. The sunshine is only able to get through the tree canopy in places but if you look carefully you will see that this is made up of circles of sunlight where each gap in the leaves acts like a lens showing an image of the sun.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Dragon Fly

You can tell a dragonfly from a damsel fly as the dragonfly rests with its wings open and the damsel fly folds them back. This is not always true as this newly emerged dragonfly shows struggling with a strong breeze to dry out on a cotswold stone cottage wall. A few moments later it had moved to a more sheltered place and was behaving conventionally.
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