A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Monday 11 December 2017

Snow brings down trees

 Wet snow clings to tree branches and although it looks pretty the extra weight is just too much for many trees. We listened to the crashing noises on Sunday as tree after tree fell to the ground in the space of a few hours.
On the bright side the gaps opened up will allow new growth to replace the old trees.

Sunday 3 December 2017

Beech Woodland in Winter

Winter days can be dull and gloomy but when the sun shines a walk in the woods is beautiful.
The leaves are gone so the sun can penetrate the beech woods and you are able to appreciate the shapes of the trees and the delicate tracery of their branches.

Sunday 29 October 2017

Beech woodland in Autumn

 We have enjoyed some stunning rambles this week. This woodland at Owlpen was enhanced by the sunshine. Some of the leaves having fallen means that the light gets through showing off the dark Beech trunks

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Fairy Rings

 Rings of Fungi often appear in the autumn and these are sometimes called fairy rings. They are the fruiting bodies of the fungus which lives underground feeding on decaying material.
We think this is the Trooping Funnel (Clitocybe geotropa) which commonly forms rings under beech trees but  are not confident enough in our identification to eat them!

Sunday 22 October 2017

Sloe berries

There seem to be many Sloe berries in the hedgerows this year. 
The berries resemble a small plum. They can be used for making jams and chutneys but are very sharp. Apparently they are less tart of picked after a frost but I usually find they have shrivelled by this time you can collect them now and freeze them.

Sunday 8 October 2017


When sitting down for a picnic in the woods today we noticed some large insects flying around this tree stump. Looking more closely we saw that they were hornets flying in and out. Luckily they kept themselves to themselves although one seemed to be on guard and we noticed it attach another hornet who came too close.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Bat detecting

As the sun went down yesterday it was a perfect still evening for watching Bats flying around the local area.
We sat down at twilight and soon saw Common Pipistrelle bats flying overhead. Our bat detector helped us to identify them and later a Lesser Horseshoe Bat too.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Sweet Chestnut

Came across these lovely old Chestnut trees on an estate near Shipton Moyne whilst out walking last week. Must be hundreds of years old.

Sunday 23 July 2017

Sun and Showers

It is feeling like Autumn already as the rose bay willow herb starts to set seed beneath stormy looking skies.
We managed an early walk with some sunshine before the rain set in.

Monday 26 June 2017

Crane Chicks

A pair of Cranes released in Somerset as part of the Crane Reintroduction Project have returned to Slimbridge WWT to breed and hatched two chicks this year. Lovely to see these birds living in the wild again.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Marbled White Butterfly

The uncut long grass of meadows near our home are alive with butterflies at the moment including the Marbled White pictured. We also saw large numbers of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and large Skipper although getting close enough for a good picture before they fly off is a challenge.

Friday 9 June 2017


Over the years the species of birds visiting our feeders have changed.
Sadly gone are the once common Greenfinch but Bullfinch are welcome new visitors and this lovely pair are becoming regulars.

Monday 5 June 2017

Bee Orchid

Yesterday we spent a lovely morning on Rodborough Common with our local RSPB group looking for butterflies. At present the common is covered with many different species of Orchids and other wild flowers. We were delighted to spot this amazing Bee Orchid in the limestone grassland, many Common Fragrant both in pink and white as well as Pyramid and Twayblade Orchids.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Wood garlic

Spring colours have been at the best this week. The wood garlic flowers carpet the woodland floor as the beech trees come into leaf. All too soon the leaf canopy will blot out the light and the woodland floor will die back.

Friday 12 May 2017

Roe deer in grassland

 Roe deer usually hide in the woodland but when grass is allowed to grow longer for hay or silage they are attracted into the fields. They like to graze in grass where other animals have not been and can often be seen in the early morning.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Beech woods in Spring

The delicate green of freshly emerged beech leaves, bluebells underneath and blue sky above. What a magnificent Springtime sight!

Sunday 16 April 2017

Bluebell Woods

 Happy Easter
Enjoy a walk in the beautiful bluebell woods of the Cotswolds

Thursday 13 April 2017

Easter Lambs

Lovely to see young lambs in the fields at this time of year.

Friday 7 April 2017


Breeding time is here for birds and we watched this male kingfisher excavating his nest hole at Slimbridge today.

Wednesday 5 April 2017


Look out for bluebells which are just starting to flower in our local woodland. Soon we should have the great carpets of blue on the woodland floor which is one of the spectacular sights of springtime. Bluebells thrive in ancient woodland where they are left undisturbed.

Tuesday 21 March 2017


Spring is here as we pass the equinox and days are longer than the nights. The blackthorn blossom is turning the hedges white as the flowers emerge before the leaves.

Friday 10 March 2017

Primrose in bloom

It really is feeling like Spring is here with banks of primroses in flower and the hawthorn bursting into leaf.

Sunday 5 March 2017

Limestone Grassland

 The National Trust's Belted Galloway cattle are doing a grand job clearing the grassland so we can enjoy orchids and other wildflowers this summer.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Spring migration approaches

 We enjoy the spectacle of overwintering birds taking advantage our relatively mild climate but it will soon be time for them to leave. Today we had fine views of 100 Bewick swans and 146 Whitefront Geese on the Dumbles at Slimbridge together with lapwing dunlin and golden plover.
There is much to enjoy in winter!

Saturday 11 February 2017

Winter flowers

 Winter aconites and snowdrops are flowering everywhere at the moment, with even a little snow to show them off this morning.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Misty Days

High pressure in winter brings misty dull days but lovely views when the mist clears.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Catkins and Snowdrops

Winter is not over yet but Spring is round the corner and the first signs are appearing with the early snowdrops flowering and hazel catkins emerging.