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Dry Sandford Pit Geology Walk

On Sunday 3 October, our group of eight was blessed with a warm, dry and sunny morning following the deluge of the previous day. The paths were, however, quite dry – perhaps there’s a clue in the name!  We were under the expert guidance of Lesley Dunlop, who introduced us to the wonders of the Corallian succession in this former sand quarry, which is a SSSI and BBOWT reserve.

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Pond Dipping at Pinkhill

On Sunday 19 September, Jeremy Biggs, the director of the Freshwater Habitats Trust, led eighteen people on a pond dipping walk at Pinkhill meadow ponds near Farmoor Reservoir.

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Moth Morning at Shilton

Mary E. writes:

Thirteen members came along on the morning of 13 August to inspect the contents of three moth traps that had been placed in different locations the previous evening in and around a private garden in Shilton.

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Visit to FarmED and Summer Picnic

Jonathan N writes:

FarmED is a new centre for farm and food education based at Honeydale Farm, near Shipton under Wychwood in the Cotswolds. On 25 August, Ian Wilkinson, the farm’s owner, led 35 members and their guests on a tour of this research and demonstration farm….

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Wychwood Forest Fair (and a tiny wasp)

This year’s Wychwood Forest Fair took place on Sunday 22 August at Foxburrow Wood, Witney. If it’s a nice day, which it was, it’s always a colourful and entertaining event. As usual, the Club had a stall alongside other conservation and natural history groups. This year we included a ‘quiz’ to engage members of the public….

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Minster Hedgies

Pete B

A group of ten of us met on the 11th of August for a fascinating visit to Minster Hedgies. It was set up just two years ago when Andrea and Ian Cross found “6 hoglets starving and wandering around our garden”. The rescue centre has since grown rapidly. When we visited 24 hedgehogs were being cared for in the “hedgehog hotel”, where they stay until sufficient weight is gained for them to be returned to the wild.

The rescue centre is self funded and relies on donations plus an army of 19 volunteers to help with feeding. For more information see:

https://www.minsterhedgies.co.uk/

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Glowworms

Eleven of the more intrepid of us met at 8:30 pm on 14 July for a ‘crepuscular’ – twilight – walk in the Stonesfield area.

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Hackpen Hill and Crowhole Bottom

John C writes:

Fourteen of us got well and truly soaked when we visited this steep chalk-grassland site near Childrey on 7 July 2021. After about half an hour admiring vast numbers of Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchids halfway up the side of the Devil’s Punchbowl the heavens threw everything they had at us for fifteen or twenty minutes. It was certainly better to go on with the rain at our backs than turn back and face it. By the time we got down to Crowhole Bottom, however, the sun was out again and plenty of Butterflies were active, notably Marbled Whites, several Dark Green Fritillaries and a number of Ringlets. Alas, we didn’t find any of the Green Hairstreaks for which the site is known, but the sharper-eared of us heard the unmistakable ‘wet-my-lips wet-my-lips’ of a Quail in a nearby corn field. Another plentiful species was Yellow-wort, a member of the Gentian/Centaury family. My favourite, however, was the rather glamorous Ichneumon in the picture.

My thanks are due to Malcolm, who knows the site well and who was due to lead us. Unfortunately he was indisposed but kindly gave me comprehensive directions and suggestions.

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William Fowler Memorial Wood and Glyme Farm

Pete B writes:

On June 29th, despite a clash with England game and the prospect of poor weather, eleven members enjoyed what turned out to be a lovely evening walk led by the former County Ecologist, Craig Blackwell.

Starting from Chipping Norton we were led to Glyme Farm via the William Fowler Memorial Wood. The farm land has been in Stewardship Schemes for many years which has resulted in beautiful wildflower rich limestone grasslands and meadows. An impressive showing of Meadow Clary was a highlight of the walk and one of only 13 such sites in the county.

Banks of Meadow and White Clary

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Greystones Farm

Maggie C writes:

Sixteen members of the club visited Greystones Farm Nature Reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water on 17 June. This is a farmed area of wetland next to the Rivers Eye and Dickler. The old hay meadows are rich in plantlife, including the ‘star’ plant the Southern Marsh Orchid which we saw in abundance. We noticed that some were hybrids with the Common Spotted Orchid also. There is also an interesting archaeology walk devoted to an ancient hillfort. We enjoyed lunch outside the on-site cafe and a good catch-up with old friends and new members alike. Many thanks to Brenda for compiling the species list, which will be listed in full in the club’s autumn newsletter. Other highlights included mating Banded Demoiselles and Thick-legged Flower Beetle.