Wiltshire Wildlife, Autumn-Winter 2022

Page 1

Members’ Magazine Autumn/Winter 2022
Wildlife A sustainable future for wildlife and people Wiltshire
Photo: Matthew Roberts

Wiltshire Wildlife Magazine

December 2022 Number 131

The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Trust.

Design www.design-studio56.co.uk Printed on paper produced from pulp from responsibly managed forests. Printed in Wiltshire by www.MailandPrint.co.uk

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Registered charity No. 266202

Patron Robert Floyd

Chair Mark Street

Council Members

Martyn Allez, Julian Barlow, Charlie Fattorini, Fiona Goff, Tim Gilson, Matt Jolley, Peter Luck, Piers Maynard, Cora Pfarre, Sylvia Wyatt


Professor Sir John Lawton

Chief Executive

Dr Gary Mantle MBE

Head Office Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Ltd, Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1NJ. Telephone: 01380 725670 Email: info@wiltshirewildlife.org Website: www.wiltshirewildlife.org

01380 829071.

16 The Care Farms: nurturing through nature 17 Visitor centre at Langford Lakes gets a revamp 18 Planning for planning Building Bridges in Wiltshire and Swindon 19 My wild job 20 Help WSBRC to support nature 21 Social media highlights 22 Supporter showcase 23 Fundraising champions 2 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022 4 A royal legacy 5 A long hot summer: effects of climate change on our reserves 6 Restoring our wetlands 8 Agroforestry at Mill Farm 9 A new #TeamWilder approach 10 Farming with wildlife 12 Reserve Focus 14 On the lookout for migrant birds Contents Autumn/Winter 2022 4 14 16 21 22 12 A large-print version of the text of this magazine is available on request.
the Trust
Please phone


As I write, the climate change conference, COP27, is taking place in Egypt. The need for urgent action could not be clearer, with the devastating impacts of climate change being felt globally. This year saw England’s driest July since 1935 and record UK temperatures left wildlife and habitats under pressure (p.5). It is clearer than ever that the biodiversity and climate crises are inextricably linked. It was encouraging to hear our Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s address at COP27, in which he stressed the importance of ending dependence on fossil fuels, committed to reducing the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030 and acknowledged that “there is no solution to climate change without protecting and restoring nature”.

Prioritising nature’s recovery and climate resilience are at the heart of the Trust’s new strategy for 2023-2030. It sets out our goals for what we want to see by 2030, with the Trust providing leadership in driving nature’s recovery, connecting all generations with nature and empowering them to take meaningful action.

In Wiltshire and Swindon, reaching the government’s target of 30% of land managed for nature will require the current area to be doubled. In our new strategy, we set out the continuing importance of working with farmers and landowners to achieve this, and you can read some examples of farming with wildlife in this issue (p.10). We have also set ourselves the ambitious target of doubling the area of land managed by the Trust.

We are undertaking a raft of projects on our reserves to help tackle the climate and ecological crises. In this magazine, you can read about the large wetland creation works we are

Get in touch…

doing (p.6) as well as the agroforestry scheme at Mill Farm (p.8). Many more projects are in the pipeline that, with your support, will help drive nature’s recovery and defend against climate change.

If one in four people stand up for wildlife and take action, we could see a complete shift in the way society values nature. To achieve this, we will continue to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of engaging with the natural world and by 2030, provide opportunities for all of Wiltshire’s young people to experience the joy of nature.

Nature needs to play a central and valued role in helping to address local, national and global problems. Over the past few months, we have been alarmed at the raft of changes proposed by government. This includes potentially revoking many laws that protect wild places, major cuts to the DEFRA budget and a ‘review’ of the long-awaited Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs), which would reward farmers for restoring nature and climateproofing their businesses. We are working with some of our MPs to #DefendNature and are pleased with some reassurances we have been given. But we must hold politicians to their word.

Together, we can tip the scales in nature’s favour and continue to enjoy wildlife spectacles such as the return of migrant birds that can brighten everyone’s winter days (p.14).

Email info@wiltshirewildlife.org or visit our website www.wiltshirewildlife.org

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/WiltsWild Post

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 3
Dr Gary Mantle MBE
Follow @wiltswildlife on Instagram
Follow @WiltsWildlife on Twitter
it to us at
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1NJ Phone
on 01380 725670 Read
new strategy at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/strategy

A royal legacy

In September, we were saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During her long and illustrious reign, Her Majesty was celebrated for her passion for the outdoors, the countryside and rural life. She was patron of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and tirelessly lent her support to the work of the Wildlife Trusts and many other environmental charities over the years.

We were privileged that our Ravensroost Wood nature reserve was this year chosen as one of only 70 ancient woodlands in the country, and the only one in Wiltshire, under the Queen’s Green Canopy project that raises awareness of the importance of ancient woodlands for wildlife and people.

We are also delighted to be part of the national ground-breaking initiative, Nextdoor Nature, which has been made possible through funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund over two years, to create a lasting legacy for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Nextdoor Nature is bringing communities together and empowering people to take action for nature where they live and work.

His Majesty King Charles III has generously given his support and time to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust over many years.

The King’s first official visit to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, as Prince of Wales, was to open our Clattinger Farm nature reserve at Oaksey, north Wiltshire, in 1997. The King called Clattinger a "magical ancient series of wildflower meadows" and since then, we have been honoured to provide seed from green hay cuts for the wildflower gardens at Highgrove House. The meadows have never been treated with any agricultural chemicals and are famed for their rare and diverse wildflowers such as snakeshead fritillary, which is now found wild at just six sites in the country.

Clattinger Farm went on to be selected as a Coronation Meadow in 2013, a programme launched by the King to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. The Coronation Meadows project both recognised outstanding examples of surviving wildflower meadows across the UK and enabled the creation of many new wildflower meadows.

The King kindly returned with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2007 to officially open Lower Moor Farm nature reserve next to Clattinger Farm. Together with other adjacent reserves, Lower Moor extended the complex to more than 300 acres of joined up space for nature.

4 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Photo: Snakeshead fritillary at Clattinger Farm, Steve Day WWT Photo: Official Opening of Clattinger Farm by HRH King Charles III, Steve Day WWT
Visit the Lower Moor reserve complex during wildflower season or enjoy a stroll around the lakes all year round. You might even spot otters from our Dragonfly Café!

A long hot summer: effects of climate change on our reserves

This summer, water levels in chalk streams and ponds were exceptionally low, with water temperatures much higher than they should be, adversely impacting food sources for species such as otters, water voles and kingfisher.

We witnessed ponds drying up at our nature reserves, including a large pond at Conigre Mead in Melksham and tiered ponds at Kings Farm Wood. There were noticeably fewer dragonflies, amphibians and other insects, which will affect their breeding potential for next year.

Some plants had also matured and fruited early, causing an ‘early autumn’ and reducing some food sources that mammals and birds rely on to prepare them for winter.

Sadly, moles were being found dead from overheating or starvation, having been forced to the surface from lack of food, as centipedes and beetles were driven deeper into the earth to avoid the heat.

There were also reports of wildfires breaking out across the country this summer. In August, the

remnants of a fire were discovered close to an ancient oak tree just 50m from the edge of our own Green Lane Wood nature reserve in Trowbridge. Even as late as October, another small fire had to be put out at Hagbourne Copse nature reserve in Swindon, as dry leaves provided fuel for flames to spread.

Whilst we’ve seen some rainfall since the summer, this follows months of arid conditions, and has not been enough to fully replenish reservoirs, aquifers, ponds, rivers and streams. The impact of the extended period of low rainfall and hot weather this year continues to affect habitats and wildlife.

At Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, we are considering the impacts that hotter, drier weather and other climatic changes are going to bring. After assessing the risks, we will determine what actions we need to take to adapt our reserves and buildings, alongside ongoing work to limit our carbon emissions. Read The Wildlife Trust’s first publication on the topic, called 'Changing Nature: A climate adaptation report': www.wildlifetrusts.org/aboutus/combatting-climate-andnature-emergency.

Recycle and reduce water use at home, e.g. water plants with rainwater and take shorter showers.

Find out more at: www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/ how-conserve-water

Do not drop used cigarettes or use singleuse/portable BBQs on reserve grounds or anywhere there’s a high risk of fire.

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 5
This summer, England experienced the driest July since 1935. The hot and dry weather brought about by climate change left nature under pressure. Habitats across the county were left parched with wildlife suffering from overheating and a severe lack of water.
What you can do to help:
Photo: Coombe Bissett Down, Louise Hartgill Photo: Burnt Grass near Green Lane Wood, WWT



In the UK, 90% of our wetlands have disappeared over the last 100 years, accompanied by dramatic declines in many of the wildlife species they support. Thanks to the vital support of funders, volunteers and members, we are ramping up our wetland enhancement work across the county to help restore this important habitat in the face of a changing climate.

In addition to providing vital wildlife habitat, wetlands are highly effective at locking up carbon, which means that wetland restoration and expansion provide a naturebased solution to mitigating climate change. It also reduces the impacts of severe weather like drought and heavy rain by storing water in the floodplain and slowing the flow into rivers.

Here are just some of the projects we are undertaking to improve, restore and create wetland habitat:

• At Langford Lakes nature reserve in the south of the county, a recently constructed lake, scrape, ditches, wet grassland and a reedbed extension will support a variety of threatened wading birds, including lapwing and bittern.

This work has been supported by a variety of funders: SITA Trust, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Wiltshire and Swindon Community Foundation, and more recently through the Network for Nature project, funded by National Highways.

• At Smallbrook Meadows nature reserve in Warminster, a river re-meandering project – also delivered through Network for Nature – will reconnect the River Were to the floodplain, providing additional habitat for a population of endangered water vole and slowing the river flow to reduce flood risk.

6 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Our wetland creation and restoration works across Wiltshire offer a naturebased solution to mitigate the effects of climate change whilst protecting endangered species.
In addition to providing vital wildlife habitat, wetlands are highly effective at locking up carbon.”

We have also joined forces with Wessex Water to work towards cleaner rivers. The Wessex Water Guardians Community Project, funded by Wessex Water, recruits and trains local volunteers – Water Guardians – to monitor watercourses in the Hampshire Avon, Bristol Avon and Upper Thames catchment areas. Water Guardians are the Trust’s eyes and ears on the ground, playing an essential role in both the health of their local river and their communities by identifying possible pollution incidents early and reporting them for investigation and remedial action. Water Guardians also play an important part in litter picking and wildlife recording.

• At Bay Meadows nature reserve near Marlborough, a series of shallow scrapes will hold water back in the floodplain, allowing it to be released slowly during extended dry periods to help sustain wildlife. This vital work is part of a larger habitat restoration and community engagement project funded by a public appeal, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Hills Group, as well as other major donors.

• At Lower Moor Farm nature reserve near Cricklade, a recent project funded by Crapper & Sons has transformed a field into a wetland complex consisting of a series of pools and a reedbed, which will attract declining amphibians and birds.

• Our Water Team has created new wetland features in Southwick Country Park, near Trowbridge, and is working with landowners and farmers to create 20 new ponds a year in order to attract Great Crested Newts and a host of other species, whilst also providing natural flood management benefits.

Find out more about the Water Team’s projects and volunteering opportunities at www.wiltshirewildlife.org/water-team

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 7
Photo: New scrapes and islands in the East Clyffe area and a new Long Pond shelf at Langford Lakes in 2021, CainBio

Agroforestry at Mill Farm

donated to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in 2020 by two benefactors and is farmed for the production of silage and cereal crops. The land not only provided the opportunity to create our newest Care Farm, The Willows, but it also presented an ideal site to demonstrate how trees can be used to increase biodiversity and sustainable land management in the agricultural landscape.

Agroforestry seemed the obvious choice, offering the chance to improve the land for both wildlife and people by enabling nature to work alongside productive agriculture. Designs and plans were drawn up as a flagship project for the Bristol Avon Catchment Market, made possible by the government’s Green

Recovery Challenge Fund, which was developed by Defra and delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The exciting agroforestry project is now in its early stages of delivery. This winter, with the help of the tenant farmer, we will see the creation of 3km of wildflower grassland strips, into which 1,249 apple trees, including local varieties, will be planted. These rows, spaced 30m apart, will act as biodiversity corridors in the cropped fields, encouraging pollinators and natural pest predators, improving soil health and preventing soil erosion through run off.


Agroforestry is the growing of both trees and agricultural/horticultural crops on the same There are two main forms of agroforestry: Silvopasture (trees planted in a grazed pasture) and Silvoarable (trees planted in an arable/cropped field).

Over the next 5-10 years, our apple trees could be producing 10-20 tonnes of organic apples annually. We are looking for a Joint Venture Partner to manage this crop and utilise the produce. Contact Chelsie Fuge, Project Manager, at ChelsieF@wiltshirewildlife.org for more information.

8 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Could you be our Joint Venture Partner?
Photo: Tom Staton, Agricology
By bringing trees into the farmed landscape, we can benefit from an increase in productivity, mitigate the effects of climate change, aid in sustainable water management and support biodiversity.
Photo: Ground preparation of the agroforestry rows at Mill Farm

A new #TeamWilder approach

This year, the 46 Wildlife Trusts across the UK have adopted a new strategy to help tackle the interconnected nature and climate crises.

Our target is that 30% of land and sea is managed for wildlife by 2030 and that one in four people are taking action for nature and climate.

What is #TeamWilder?

We are putting nature’s recovery at the heart of everything we do, but we cannot achieve this challenging target alone. We can achieve so much more when we all come together. So, The Wildlife Trusts have developed an approach called #TeamWilder, which is inclusive and supportive of all the groups and actions taking place to support nature and the climate.

Rather than just seeing ourselves, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, as the experts, with the sole responsibility of ‘sorting out conservation’ in Wiltshire, the #TeamWilder approach focuses on community empowerment. We will support groups and organisations who are working towards our shared vision of a wilder future, and empower them to achieve action for nature.

What does #TeamWilder look like?

To kick-start this new #TeamWilder approach, we have appointed a new Community Empowerment Officer, who has started running a new two-year programme funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund called Nextdoor Nature and is already working with groups in Colerne, Salisbury and Devizes to help them do everything from running consultation events to promoting their own volunteering opportunities.

We also have a new online hub to help people on their wilder journeys. There will be more volunteering opportunities available, allowing more people to join the #TeamWilder movement. We will also provide more resources and advice on our website to help communities take their own action for nature.

“Nature and the climate are facing a serious crisis. If we can get one in four people taking action for nature, we can create the momentum we need to tip the balance in nature’s favour and make lasting change.”

Join the #TeamWilder movement today! Find out more at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/ team-wilder

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 9
Photos: Nextdoor Nature, The Wildlife Trusts

Farming with wildlife

Chalk and Cheese

Farming is the dominant land use in Wiltshire, covering 80% of the county. The even split between arable and grazing leads to us sometimes being referred to as ‘chalk and cheese’. Moreover, Wiltshire farmland is highly productive: cereals and oilseeds thrive on the chalk which is resistant to both waterlogging and drought.

Objectives shared by The Wildlife Trusts and the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan include halting species decline and protecting 30%

of land for nature by 2030. How this will look in the farmed landscape will depend largely on new agrienvironment schemes and rules still under discussion. But we can already see changes on Wiltshire’s farmland that reflect new, and sometimes a return to old, ways of working with nature.

Visible Changes

In recent years, there has been an emphasis on increasing year-round green cover to reduce erosion and compaction. As more cover crops are being planted after harvest to mop up leftover nutrients and

protect the soil from winter weather, less soil is being washed into rivers.

Due to the financial and agronomic benefits of direct drilling (i.e. when the seed is drilled into unploughed soil), over the past few years you may have noticed fewer ploughed fields and more crops emerging from stubbles.

Though not always possible, this approach leads to fewer carbon emissions and better soil biodiversity, as organic matter is kept in the ground and less fuel is needed.

10 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Wiltshire is leading the way in showcasing agro-ecological farming practicesthat allow nature to thrive whilst still producing great food.”

As the cost of fertiliser goes through the roof, more farmers are adding nitrogen fixing crops such as clovers, peas and beans into rotations to reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers. Pulses like peas and beans not only shrink the carbon footprint of animal products by replacing imported soya in animal feed, but also provide a more sustainable plant-based source of protein for humans. Growing techniques such as intercropping (i.e. growing a crop among plants of a different kind) also increase diversity and add value.

Many more farmers have adopted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a sustainable way to manage pests with less reliance on pesticides. Agrichemical overload has played a part in the steep decline of insects. Using a broader toolbox, including encouraging beneficial insects, introducing disease resistant varieties and targeted spraying, offers the opportunity for pollinators and pest predators to help crops to thrive with fewer chemicals.

Maize and hybrid rye are common in Wiltshire’s fields. With a late harvest window that can coincide with wet weather, resulting in mud lost onto roads and into rivers, maize farming has a poor reputation. However, a growing

emphasis on soil care is giving rise to more undersowing (i.e. sowing a crop on land already seeded with another crop) so that less damage is done at harvest and nutrients are added rather than lost.

Future Farming

Tree planting is not appropriate everywhere in Wiltshire, since much of our unique biodiversity depends on grassland habitats. But there is still scope for more trees by joining up existing woodlands, planting alongside watercourses or introducing trees as part of agroforestry systems.

A joined up network of hedgerows, cut less often, act as ‘wildlife corridors’ between islands of biodiversity. Hedgerows are already a growing feature of Wiltshire, allowing wildlife to travel across the landscape and providing food and shelter for birds, insects and other animals.

The extensive grazing of cattle keeps grasslands clear of invasive scrub whilst supporting the production of high quality meat through more resilient mixed species swards. Increasing the amount of Wiltshire used for this type of farming will make an important contribution to the 25 Year Environment Plan habitat restoration target.

The edges and corners of fields are also being given over to pollinator and wild bird seed mixes, managed as scrub or new wetland habitat, or left to regenerate naturally, sometimes to fulfil Biodiversity Net Gain and Nutrient Neutrality requirements to offset housing development across the county.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is working with farmers to join the dots and integrate best practice for wildlife into our productive landscape.

Check out the Agricology website for more information and resources on nature friendly farming: www.agricology.co.uk

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 11
Photo: Grazing at Coombe Bissett Down, Louise Hartgill Photo: Agroforestry, Organic Research Centre, Agricology Photo: Field edge with hedgerow and wildflowers, Martin Lines, Agricology



Langford Lakes

Nestled in the Wylye Valley between Salisbury and Warminster, Langford Lakes is one of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s flagship nature reserves with great facilities including a café, art gallery and events space.

What can I do at Langford Lakes?

Langford Lakes nature reserve has a relaxing atmosphere with good level paths for easy walking. You can enjoy watching wildfowl from five hides overlooking the lakes or from the Kingfisher Café, which has a veranda and cosy indoor seating, offering visitors stunning lakeside views and delicious tea and cake.

What kind of wildlife can I see at Langford Lakes?

Langford Lakes is a wonderful place to spot otters, but is also a bird watcher's paradise. The four lakes and wet scrape provide a vital stopping off point for migratory birds and resident

habitat for about 150 different bird species. Residents include kingfisher, water rail and gadwall.

You may even spot some rarities on your visits, such as the osprey, the white-tailed eagle or the pectoral sandpiper.

In spring, watch for great-crested grebes shaking their heads in courtship. Reed warbler, waders and terns drop in on their summer migration. And as winter advances, an amazing array of wintering species arrive. Large flocks of lapwing can be seen flying around and feeding on the wetlands; shoveler and wigeon join the other ducks present all year round; and occasionally the

endangered and secretive bittern pays a visit.

How has Langford Lakes improved for wildlife over the years?

Since Wiltshire Wildlife Trust acquired the lakes in 2001, islands, ponds and wader scrapes have been created to provide habitat for birds such as redshank and sandpiper that probe the mud for food. The Trust also improved the 800m stretch of Wylye River for fish, designated a Special Area of Conservation, and a neighbouring field was transformed into the Great Meadow wetland in September 2012.

12 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022

The Trust has more exciting wetland habitat improvements in the pipeline at Langford Lakes over the coming years, thanks to the Network for Nature project funded by National Highways, which focuses on improving, creating and restoring habitat that has been impacted by historic road building activity. In September, a reedbed was extended on Brockbank Lake, and future funded projects include a sand martin bank and new wet grassland that will support breeding birds.

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 13
Photo: Langford Lakes, Ralph Harvey Photo: Kingfisher Café, Ellie Dodson
for your
Photo: Great-crested grebe at Langford Lakes, Gary Mantle
Find all the information
visit here: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/ langford-lakes

On the lookout for migrant birds

The spectacle of bird migration has fascinated people for centuries. Each year, millions of birds undertake astounding journeys to reach their breeding grounds and wintering sites. Often when we think of migratory birds, our minds are drawn to summer migrants such as cuckoos or swallows, which take advantage of our long summer days to breed. But as the nights draw in and the

days turn colder, a whole raft of species join us for the winter.

Some of these migrants are species which are only seen here during the colder months. For others, Wiltshire’s breeding populations are swelled by birds escaping harsher conditions further north and east. Now is a great time to put on your coat and see some of these amazing birds.

Why not get out and try to spot these and many of our other winter visitors. Our network of over 40 reserves across the county are a great place to start. To find out more about our nature reserves and how to record your wildlife sightings, visit: www.wiltshirewildlife.org

14 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
We have put together a helpful guide to some of the birds that join us for the winter and where to find them.
Photo: Goldeneye Male, Fergus Gill

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

The lapwing has declined dramatically as a breeding species in Wiltshire. However, thousands arrive in winter from as far away as Eastern Europe & Russia. Flocks can be seen feeding in ploughed fields or on wetlands. Langford Lakes nature reserve in the south of the county is a great place to look for these stunning birds.

Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret)

This charming finch can be found in woodlands or near water during the winter. Poor seed crops can lead to ‘irruptions’ with large numbers moving further south than normal searching for food. You may catch a glimpse of these elusive birds at our woodland nature reserves such as Ravensroost Wood and Clouts Wood.

Redwing (Turdus iliacus)

Stand outside on a clear autumn night and you might hear the gentle ‘tseep’ calls of migrating redwing overhead. Coming to us from Scandinavia and arriving in late October, redwing form flocks feasting on berries and fruit. Blakehill Farm nature reserve is a great place to go to try to spot them.

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

Despite being the UK’s smallest bird, weighing in at five grams, goldcrests migrate hundreds of miles across the North Sea and join our resident breeding population for the winter. The goldcrest is widespread during the winter months, often being seen in woodlands, parks and gardens. A visit to Green Lane Wood, Biss Wood or Oyster’s Coppice may involve an encounter with these diminutive birds.

Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

The beautiful goldeneye spends the summer in Scandinavia and Russia, with some pairs breeding in Scotland. Unusually for a duck, they nest in holes in trees. Small numbers spend the winter on the lakes of Wiltshire. Sites around the Cotswold Water Park such as Lower Moor nature reserve are the best places to try to spot them. The males and females look different, but both have the piercing golden eye that gives the species its name.

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 15
Photo: Lapwing, Gary MantlePhoto: Lesser Redpoll, Bob Coyle Photo: Redwing, Jon HawkinsPhoto: Goldcrest, Gary Mantle Photo: Goldeneye Female, Andy Morffew

The Care Farms: nurturing through nature

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has two Care Farms: Lakeside, near Oaksey and The Willows, in Broughton Gifford. Across both Care Farms, we are working with over 70 children and young people who join us from one half day per week to three full days per week.

Our Care Farms show how contact with nature has a powerful role to play in helping those with mental ill-health, autism, social and communication difficulties, those in need of emotional support and those who, for whatever reason, struggle in a school setting.

The team at the Care Farms offer students supervised therapeutic activities in nature conservation, farming, horticulture, forest school and animal care. These activities help students to cope with emotional challenges, and build their confidence, self-esteem, independence and skill set to prepare them for their next steps at a pace that suits them.

Feedback from the farms

We love hearing about the positive impact the Care Farms has on our students. Here is just some of the wonderful feedback that has been shared with us this year:

“I would say The Willows is making my confidence better.”


“I have been so impressed by the package of support that is being offered and the quality and understanding of the importance of key relationships in promoting a sense of safety and trust, which is the key to recovery.”

Mental health professional

“Thank you so much for all everyone has done for A. Without the farm, I think his situation would have been very different. The farm has helped him tremendously, it has built his self-esteem, reduced his anxiety, mental health and improved his overall wellbeing. The farms are a huge asset to Wiltshire and the children who are able to access it are so lucky to have such wonderful places to go to.”


Find out more about the important work of our Care Farms at:
16 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Photo: Staff and student at Lakeside Care Farm, Dean SherwinPhoto: Sensory garden, Sammy Millard-Powell Photo: Bug hotel, Brendan Sellwood Photo: Dean Sherwin Photo: Sammy Millard-Powell Photo: Dean Sherwin

Nature centre at Langford Lakes gets a revamp

In the autumn, we officially opened the new Brockbank Centre and Kingfisher Café at our Langford Lakes nature reserve. Through the generous support of key funders the European Social Investment Fund and The Hills Group, we have been able to create a true flagship site for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

The new developments have more than doubled the size of the nature centre with the creation of a new café area and a dedicated space for the art gallery and private functions.

The centre will be a great resource for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust events and for our members, and a focal point for the local community to use for everything from meetings to weddings.

Most importantly, with the added capacity and improved facilities, the Brockbank Centre and café are drawing in new visitors to our wonderful Langford Lakes reserve.

The Chairman and Chief Executive of The Hills Group opened the Brockbank Centre at an event attended by Lord Talbot, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of

Wiltshire, and a small group of our major stakeholders. The Chairman of The Hills Group, Alan Pardoe, spoke about the unique partnership between The Hills Group and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, which has seen the Trust receive an amazing £9m in funding over 35 years.

Everyone had the chance to learn about how Langford Lakes has been transformed for the benefit of wildlife and local people since the reserve was created in 2001 and to learn about all the exciting plans for more enhancements, including a new sand martin nesting bank.

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 17
Come and enjoy the magnificent views over the reserve from our expanded nature centre and café at Langford Lakes this winter, and get a warm welcome from our team!
Photo: New Brockbank Centre and Kingfisher Café, WWT Photo: Brockbank Centre Opening, Ellie Dodson

Planning for planning

Everyone is aware of how hard it is balancing the needs of nature with housing, employment and infrastructure development pressures on the county.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust receives and assesses a large number of requests to comment on planning proposals. The scale of development throughout Wiltshire and Swindon is such that we can only comment on major developments and developments that directly impact on our nature reserves.

While we are not statutory consultees,we work to influence planning decisions at a strategic level. As part of the wider network of Wildlife Trusts, we lobby nationally for wildlife protection in planning policy design. We also work with developers to compensate for biodiversity lost through development, with an expectation that they commit to a net gain overall.

We have recently updated our website to offer a suite of resources for anyone looking to comment on a planning application themselves. This contains links and references to wildlife protecting legislation and detailed information on the process of submitting and progressing your objection to (or support of) an application in Wiltshire or Swindon.

Building Bridges in Wiltshire and Swindon

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has been involved in the Building Better Opportunities programme since 2016. This is a national programme jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund. In Wiltshire and Swindon, this has been delivered as the Building Bridges programme.

The aim of the programme is to support those furthest from the labour market in accessing the skills, development, education and/or experience they need to achieve and sustain ongoing employment. Our target group is those who are unemployed or economically inactive and facing multiple, complex challenges and barriers.

We are delighted that Anthony Tooze joined the Trust as our Building Bridges Project Support

Worker in August. Anthony had originally joined the Building Bridges programme in 2020 as a participant and has grown in skills and confidence over the last two years. Anthony brings calm, knowledgeable and personable values to the team.

To date, the programme has supported over 100 people and approximately half have gained employment, moved into education or moved from economically inactive to job searching.

The unique mix of practical conservation and soft skills that the Trust has provided has been a key part of the success of the Building Bridges programme in Wiltshire and Swindon.

18 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
out how to respond to
applications in Wiltshire at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/planning Find out more about the Building Bridges programme at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/building-bridges
Photos: New Project Support Officer Anthony Tooze with participants, WWT

My wild job

In this new regular feature, we’ll be taking you behind the scenes to meet some of the wonderful staff that work at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, each doing their part to help the Trust achieve its vision of a more sustainable future for wildlife and people.

me asking about details of a payment made years ago!

What does an average day at the office look like?

When I arrive at the office, I start by looking at emails and answering any immediate queries. I then download bank statements from the previous day and input figures into various spreadsheets. I log all the income and send off invoices to request income. Each day is different, which makes it interesting.

What do you like best about your job?

I like the variety – you never know what each day will bring. I also love the people that I work with. I could do my job at any organisation, but doing it at the Trust makes it more rewarding, as I feel like I am making a difference. The organisation would find it difficult to manage without the accounts and finance team.

We have had to rethink how we work due to changing regulations and new governmental/financial bodies. The Trust’s focus on wellbeing and education has also grown hugely. There are a whole range of community and wellbeing projects now that didn’t exist when I started.

How do you live sustainably?

I am a great believer in everyone doing their bit. If everyone did just a little bit, then as a whole we could achieve so much more. I do everything I can personally to live sustainably: I choose to walk most of the time; I wash things up before recycling them to avoid contamination; and I buy from charity shops.

I also go out into the countryside every day to walk the dog and get out in nature as much as I can, as it’s really good for mental health.

What’s your role at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust?

I am one of two finance officers. I deal mainly with the sales ledger, which means income coming into the organisation, and most of the banking functions. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is assisting with staff finance queries such as pension, expenses, reporting, payroll and invoicing.

Detective work is actually a big part of the job, and something I really enjoy – sometimes people come to

Charity finance is much more complex than commercial finance, because you have to track the different funding streams, and restricted funds have to be spent on specific projects and areas. This can be a challenge, but really interesting when you get into it!

How has the Trust changed over the years?

I’ve been working at the Trust for nine and a half years. Over that time, funding streams have changed. We have had to explore different financial avenues, so that we are less reliant on grants.

Look out for the latest job opportunities at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/jobs

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 19
Photo: Brown hare in meadow, Elliot Neep

Help WSBRC to support nature

Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) is the biological data and environmental mapping hub for Wiltshire and Swindon, with over three million species records as well as habitats and a variety of other data.

Accurate data is vital to help organisations and individuals make the right policies, plans and decisions for our countryside, landscapes and wildlife. We are constantly working to update this data by supporting recording efforts and through project work. There is a lot going on!

Get involved in WSBRC's projects

• The 6th National Otter Survey of England is also underway and is looking for volunteers – find out more here: www.mammal.org.uk/ national-otter-survey/

Coming soon...

• The ‘S41’ project will review and update our information about Wiltshire’s special ‘Section 41’ Priority Species. These are species which are of principal importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity in England.

Send us your wildlife sightings!

• Our Ancient Woodland Inventory update project is keeping us busy mapping and gathering evidence about ancient woodlands in the county. We are identifying areas of woodland and wood-pasture which have been in existence since at least 1600 AD. These sites have irreplaceable ecological and historical characteristics. Many are now in poor condition or threatened by development.

• ‘Nurturing Nature’ is a major recording effort based in the Chalke and Chase area of Cranbourne Chase AONB and will recruit and equip volunteers to carry out surveying and monitoring of chalk downland, woodland and bird species.

• We are also looking to kick-start a new ‘Wiltshire Hedgerow Inventory’ project. Hedgerows are a Priority Habitat, and an important source of food and shelter for a range of insects, birds and mammals. Initial work will involve interpreting aerial photography and historic maps.

Unusual sightings

We’ve had some great photos shared with us lately, including a white tailed eagle, a glossy ibis and an oil beetle. Send us your sightings if you spot any more elusive wildlife!

Are pine martens heading our way?

We have heard unconfirmed reports of sightings in the south of the county; if you can help with any information, please get in touch!

Help us by submitting your sightings via the iRecord App. Find out more here: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/ make-a-record

Photo: Hagbourne Copse, Sarah Stebbing Photo: Eurasian otter, WWT Photo: White tailed eagle, Vijay Patel
Learn some new skills! Contact joni@wsbrc.org if you would like to get involved in any of these projects. 20 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
Photos: Pine marten, Darin Smith

Social media highlights

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 21
Tag us in your
to be featured in our
We love hearing about your sightings and experiences with nature! Our social media community is a great place to shout about Wiltshire’s wildlife. Below are some of our recent highlights.
social mediafor
next magazine!
David Walters: “A female kestrel with lunch” Justine Hadfield: “Very obliging geese!” Alan McCluskie: “It’s a special day when two young otters pop up in front of you” Megan Boardman: “My first lapwing experience. They may be small in stature but they're big in personality”
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/WiltsWild Follow
on Twitter
Monahans: “A very fun, informative and exhausting day of volunteering for WWT”

Supporter showcase!

Wild Snaps Photo Competitions

Many thanks to all who entered our photo competitions this year. We ran both an adult and a junior competition, which produced some stunning entries!

The adult Wild Snaps were judged by our Chief Executive, Gary Mantle, and the Junior Wild Snaps were judged by our Young Ambassadors, Izzy Fry and Chris Bailey. Congratulations to our winners and runners-up!

You can view them all at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org/ wild-snaps

Finding Fungi

Fungi come in different shapes and sizes, from mushrooms to cups, balls and brackets. However, most only appear above the ground once or twice per year, leading to a lack of recorded sightings in Wiltshire.

Smallbrook Meadows Leaflets

The children in Year 5 at Minster Primary School in Warminster have been studying a topic called ‘Wonderful Wiltshire’. As a part of this topic, they visited Smallbrook Meadows nature reserve, and wrote promotional leaflets to encourage others to visit. We were delighted to receive their leaflets in the post. We think they are excellent!

We love seeing your passion for wildlife and nature – from wildlife photography to school and citizen science projects, here we’re showcasing some of the contributions from our wonderful supporters.
22 Wiltshire Wildlife Autumn/Winter 2022
This year, we asked you to help with finding fungi! Here are a couple of your discoveries:
Photo: Golden waxcap, Tom Salmon Photo: Fly agaric, Ruth Atkins Photo: Kingfisher, Sam Taylor Photo: Smooth newt, Teresa Farr



We can’t do any of the work you’ve read about in this issue without the generous support of our members, volunteers, funders and corporate partners.

A special thank you goes to the amazing fundraisers this year who have taken on some big challenges to raise money for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Here are just some of the inspirational fundraisers helping us to build a more sustainable future for wildlife and people…

Arthur’s Cycling Challenge

Mel and Brian’s Skydive

A big shout out goes to Mel, our Education and Wellbeing Officer, and Brian, a volunteer for our Wild Roots Group, who took on the ultimate challenge by skydiving 13,500 feet for nature, and together raised over £600!

Jordan’s Trek for Tools

Jordan, our Education and Wellbeing Officer, hiked an impressive 87mile stretch along the Ridgeway over four days this summer with friends Luke, Tom and Alex. They were able to raise over £1,000 to get new tools for our Lakeside Care Farm at Lower Moor. What a fantastic achievement!

Autumn/Winter 2022 Wiltshire Wildlife 23
and raising
Well done to Arthur from Oare Primary School
cycling 15.5
Kennet and Avon Canal with his dad
over £300 for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust this summer. Thank you
making a difference for nature!
Want to fundraise for us? Get some inspiration at: www.wiltshirewildlife.org /fundraise-for-us

Helping wildlife is a piece of cake

A visit to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s cafés promises a warm welcome and a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by nature, with the best of locally sourced, sustainable food and drinks.

Whatever the weather, you can enjoy stunning lakeside views and spot wildlife such as otters, birds and dragonflies, whilst sampling some delicious tea and cake.

What’s more, you can savour every mouthful knowing that profits from these cafés go directly towards helping nature's recovery in Wiltshire.

Locations, facilities and opening times:

Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am – 4pm | On-site parking and toilets | Wheelchair accessible.

The Dragonfly Café: Lower Moor Nature Reserve, Oaksey, Nr Cricklade, Wilts, SN16 9TW

The Kingfisher Café: Langford Lakes Nature Reserve, Duck Street, Steeple Langford, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 4NH

Find out how Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is building a sustainable future for wildlife and people at www.wiltshirewildlife.org.

The Dragonfly Café at Lower Moor

“The best tea and lemon drizzle cake in the world!”
Steve from
“We really enjoyed our visit here today, so much nature spotting and awesome cake”
Sarah from Swindon
The Kingfisher Café at Langford Lakes