A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Tuesday 31 May 2011


Bees are busy pollinating the flowers of the brambles so the blackberries will be ready in late summer.

Monday 30 May 2011

Maize Plants

The recent slightly damper weather has encouraged the growth of the young maize plants.
The usually straight rows of plants seem to be rather more irregular in this field near Nympsfield.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Oak Apple Day

29th May is Oak Apple Day commemorating the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Charles II is reputed to have escaped capture by either hiding in an Oak or disguised as a woodman hence the oak leaf was a symbol to be worn on the anniversary of his restoration.
The oak apple itself is not a fruit but a growth caused by the eggs of the gall wasp which consume the growth and emerge in July.
People could be punished for not wearing the oak symbol on this day and schoolboys used to whip the bare legs of schoolgirls with nettles if they neglected to wear it until recent times.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Dog Rose

The dog roses are blooming in the hedgerows showing summer is here

Friday 27 May 2011

River Water Crowfoot

River water crowfoot is found in fast flowing streams and unlike the common water crowfoot does not have large floating leaves. It is a member of the buttercup family and in flower from now until the end of June.Here seen in the River Frome near Stroud.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Spotted Orchid

Orchids are starting to bloom on the limestone grassland. Pictured is a common spotted orchid growing on the long barrow at Uley. We do not usually see these until June but everything seems to be several weeks early this year.

Monday 23 May 2011

Yellow Iris

Yellow Iris also known as Yellow Flag is in flower in ditches and wetlands from now until July.

It is an invasive plant thriving in wet conditions so this years dry spring may restrict its spread.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Snow in May

No not really for this is Oil Mill built in 1721 to produce rape seed and linseed oil. Later it was a corn mill, a fulling mill and it was attempted to turn it into a hydro electric power station . Now it produces snow for films and television so the next time you are watching snow scenes on TV , when the sun is high in the sky and leaves are on trees, it probably came from here.
We passed it on a pleasant walk along the towpath of the Stroudwater navigation.

Friday 20 May 2011

Adonis Blue Butterfly

The Adonis Blue is a small blue butterfly which lives on chalk and limestone grassland and emerges in May/June with a second brood in July/August and this seems to be a good year for them. The one pictured was at Coaley Peak picnic site where we spotted several while walking on the Cotswold Way.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Greylag goslings

Ducks and geese are busy looking after their newly hatched offspring at the moment although the young are more independent than many birds as shown by this busily grazing family

Monday 16 May 2011


The Jay is normally a shy bird of the woodlands but birds often surprise us with their behaviour and this cheeky Jay was scavenging from tables in an outside cafe.

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Sunday 15 May 2011

Palmate Newt

Recently we had noticed Newts in our pond and whilst clearing some leaves we found this one in the net & so put him on a plate to have a look. Only about 3" long this is a Palmate Newt which has a dark brown/green body & white underside marked with dark spots. There was a touch of red on the tail and our research shows this one to be a male as he has webbed feet (during the breeding season which is between February to May).
This type of Newt spends the breeding season in water and are active during the day, hence us seeing them swimming about in the pond. Otherwise they are active during rainy or humid nights. Palmate Newts lay single eggs on plant leaves which soon hatch into tiny tadpoles.

Friday 13 May 2011

Stone Walls

Drystone walls of Cotswold stone are a familiar feature of the area on top of the hills near our home so today we were getting in some practice helping to build the new ha ha at Westonbirt Arboretum

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Roe Deer

Deer usually hide in the woods during the daytime but with longer days they often take advantage of the extra cover provided by long grass to venture out into the fields near our house where we can see them in the morning.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Summer Woodlands

Most trees are now in full leaf shutting out the sunlight so that much of the flora of the woodland floor is now dying back. The cool dappled shade of the woods still makes it a very beautiful place.

Saturday 7 May 2011


The dock is a widespread plant of fields, gardens and roadside verges, the dock is often used especially by children to relieve the stings of nettles. It grows prolifically and is pictures on a roadside verge already starting to set seed.

Cows in the meadows

Lovely to see the cattle out grazing long grass in the meadows. A real summery scene although they were a bit too keen to investigate us when we crossed the stile into the field

Friday 6 May 2011

Red Campion

Red Campion is abundant in the local hedgerows.It is sometimes called the cuckoo flower as it blooms in the same period as the cuckoo is heard although the once common call of the cuckoo is increasingly rare in our area
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Wednesday 4 May 2011

Oak Woods

We are back in Gloucestershire after a visit to North Wales where we visited the Maentrog Oak woods . Spring is less well advanced there so we were struck by the vibrant green leaves on the trees while the oaks at home have changed to the darker greens of Summer.