Bath Natural History Society

BATH NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY – Registered Charity No. 1107468

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Welcome to our new Bath Nats website from the President Professor David Goode

Do come and join us in “Exploring Nature within and around Bath!”

Whether you are visiting this site as an onlooker, member or prospective member of our Society, we hope you will enjoy and be excited by the descriptions and illustrations of our diverse interests, activities and expertise. We are a relatively small Natural History Society, which relies on the enthusiasm, voluntary efforts and skills of its membership, so newcomers – of all ages and from all kinds of background are always very welcome.

We think that ‘natural history’ is important for everyone, not just a select few. The natural world is made up of many different kinds of animals and plants, and it takes all kinds of people to appreciate them, from different points of view and in different ways. So, if you find pleasure in exploring any aspect of nature, especially in the Bath area, perhaps you would like to join us as a really great way to share and learn more.

Since I came to live in Bath I have found that the city and its surroundings support a great variety of wildlife. Among my particular favorites are meadows full of orchids around the skyline walk; a huge colony of ivy mining bees that have recently colonized sandy banks near the Pavilion Restaurant in Victoria Park; a night time roost of up to 300 pied wagtails in the solitary tree in Southgate shopping centre; and perhaps best of all the pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest on the spire of St John’s church in the city centre. Unseen by many people, they are for me an important link with the natural world that can bring enjoyment, stimulation and a sense of wonder.

By joining in with us, you too might be surprised and inspired by the variety of life that can be found almost anywhere in and around Bath, with a little knowledge of where to look, how to look and what to look for. Over the past few years some of our members have regularly visited the tiny cemetery at Smallcombe to find out what lives there. The results have been astonishing. So far they’ve seen over 700 species including 55 kinds of moths, many other insects, over 44 common bird species, around 144 kinds of flowering plants including some quite rare species, and over 100 species of lichens. All this occurs within a short walk from the city centre. The canal too is rich in species. Around 15 dragonfly species can be seen along the towpath between Bath and Bradford on Avon. Kingfishers can frequently be seen and if you are lucky you might even see an otter on the canal or along the River Avon. Delightful mosses, liverworts, lichens and all manner of ‘creepy crawlies’ abound on and in our stone walls and in our local woodlands – not to mention fungi, a passion for some of our members. Fungal forays are remarkably popular. We are also discovering, by light trapping (and releasing), the wide range of moth species which inhabit Bath’s urban and sub-urban areas, including some of the strikingly beautiful hawk moths.

We are especially keen to work in partnership with other local educational groups and organizations who share our interest in and concern for the natural world, and to find ways of reaching out to members of the wider public, including young people and families. When you join us, you don’t just get a chance to attend our own varied programme of outdoor and indoor meetings, and receive our Magazine, Newsletter and other publications – you also get to know about what our partners and friends are doing and how to join in with them.

You are very welcome!

About Us

The main purposes of Bath Natural History Society are to promote an interest in all aspects of natural history and to encourage the study, conservation and recording of the fauna and flora of the Bath area. BNHS liaises with other natural history societies and conservation organisations.

• Field trips – usually two or more per month.
• Indoor meetings – monthly from September through to April.
• Survey work – site visits to record specific wildlife groups.
• Members’ slides and social evenings.
• Education – providing lecturers to speak to external organisations.
• Wildlife identification.
• Meetings to enable the public to participate in Nats’ activities.

Join in
If this sounds interesting to you, come and join us!   

To download       Constitution    Council Members 2021   SafeGuarding Policy   Membership form

Take a walk with BathNats

When it’s not possible to join a field trip, explore nature round Bath with a self-guided walk. Lucy Starling is your guide.

How To Join Bath Nats

To join us, come along to one of our indoor meetings, email us or download an application form

A programme of our field trips is available to all members.

The annual subscription is as follows:

• Single membership…….. £8.00

• Family membership….. £12.00

• Student membership….. £4.00

You can download an application form to join us here

Admission for indoor meetings is £2 for members and £4 for visitors.

Admission to the social evening and to the AGM is free.

Study Groups

‘Study Groups’ (SGs) are intended to augment the main Field Programme by enabling members of the Society to enhance their knowledge and confidence in studying particular aspects of natural history and to encourage recording.

Their meetings are arranged and notified separately to their members by their respective leaders, as and when appropriate. Members who wish to join an SG are asked to contact the leader(s) of that group.

Current SGs are as follows: Moths (Paul Wilkins, Peter Shirley and Geoff Hiscocks); Biodiversity (Alan Feest and Alan Rayner).

Nature round Bath

Learn more about the natural history of Bath  in the first of a series of studies, including extracts from the Bath Natural History Society Magazine.

Mere Down And Whitesheet Hill, 28 November 2021

Mere Down And Whitesheet Hill, 28 November 2021

Leader: Lucy Starling Ten members joined me on a gloriously sunny but chilly morning for a slow birding stroll along the track from the B3095, which incorporates Whitesheet Hill (NT), and continues to the B3092 and Stourhead estate. From the top of Whitesheet Hill,...

Fungus Day at Friary, 27 October 2021

Fungus Day at Friary, 27 October 2021

Pictured above: Lumpy Bracket (Trametes gibbosa) © Helena Crouch Leader Alan Rayner Seventeen Bath Nats members gathered outside the classroom at Friary on a cloudy but dry, rather breezy morning, to be treated to coffee and cake served by hosts Penny and Richard...

Fungal Foray at Stockhill, 29 September 2021

Fungal Foray at Stockhill, 29 September 2021

Photograph above: Conifer Blueing Bracket (Postia caesia) © Helena Crouch Leaders Alan Rayner & Helena Crouch Four members met on a sunny but chilly autumn morning following a long warm dry spell ended by heavy rain in the 2-3 days previously. We were anxious...

Broadmoor to North Stoke, 12 September 2021

Leader: Rob Randall Three members joined the leader for a scenic walk with panoramic views taking in Cley Hill and Longleat, the Mendip Hills, Avon Gorge and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, although there was too much haze  for the Brecon Beacons to be made...

Around Mells & Great Elm, 21 August 2021

Leader Tom Rogers The day began with persistent rain as six NATS members joined the leader on a walk of approximately 5 miles. We started walking back along the road towards Great Elm. After about 150 yds we left the road & entered the Wadbury valley to walk...

Slimbridge WWT Reserve, 25 August 2021

Slimbridge WWT Reserve, 25 August 2021

Leader David Goode Fourteen members and friends gathered in the car park at the Wildfowl and Wetland Centre on a rather overcast morning, where we were welcomed by the incessant note of a migrant chiffchaff and the distant call of a greenshank . We made our way...

Eastwood Farm LNR, Brislington, 22 July 2021

Eastwood Farm LNR, Brislington, 22 July 2021

Above: Greater Dodder (Cuscuta europaea) © David Hall Leader: Helena CrouchOn a scorching hot day, nine members met in a residential road near a large industrial estate at the edge of Bristol, to explore Eastwood Farm Local Nature Reserve. The reserve, a former dairy...

Bradford-on-Avon, 15 July 2021

Leader Felicity Gilmour A day that had started bright and sunny turned overcast by the time 12 Nats members met at Bradford-on-Avon station. This had the fortunate advantage of bringing the Swifts down low, and screaming parties soared above us as we started our walk...

Black Dog Wood, 6 July 2021

Black Dog Wood, 6 July 2021

Leader Phillip Delve Black Dog is an extensive woodland, between Westbury and Frome, owned by the Longleat Estate and bisected by the A36 dual carriageway. From Black Dog Farm, where we left half our cars, 15 of us, sharing lifts in the other cars, transferred 400m...

Grass identification workshop, Bathwick, 5 June 2021

Leader: Rob Randall The meeting was billed as a workshop, but as only one member joined the leader it was more of a tutorial. Wild flower enthusiasts usually shy away from grasses but once a good hand lens and guide book are obtained it becomes easier to at least...

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Registered Charity No. 1107468


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