Leader Richard Bottle

Six of us met at Newton St. Loe Parish Church for a walk through the lovely grounds of Newton Park, landscaped by Capability Brown and now the home of Bath Spa University. Our route took us along the Newton Park Lakes, through Melancholy Wood and up to the Wilmington ridge, down to Wilmington village and then along Twelve O’clock Lane, through Whistling Copse and back to the village of Newton St. Loe.

Box moth damage © Richard Bottle

Walking along the path through Workshop Covert we passed a spindle tree. At the lakes, we heard the croaking of a Raven. Beside the upper lake we came across evidence of the Box moth. Mallard, Gulls, Moorhen, Coot and Mute Swan were busy on the lakes, and we had a possible sighting of a Ruddy Duck.

Emerging from Melancholy Wood we had a peek at the Walled Garden. Climbing out of Newton Park we saw Buzzard and Swallow. We spotted Scarlet Pimpernel, Forget-me-not and Poppy as we descended through the arable fields to Wilmington.

Brimstone moth © Richard Bottle

Holly Blue © John Garrett

After lunch in the village, we walked along the lane to Whistling Copse, enjoying extensive views of the countryside from Englishcombe, to Inglesbatch and Priston. Speckled Wood butterfly were in abundance, and we also spotted a Brimstone Moth (not butterfly!), a Holly Blue butterfly and more Buzzards. We also found an impressive Robin’s Pincushion wasp gall growing in the hedge-row along the lane.

Robin’s Pincushion on Dog Rose © Richard Bottle

Speckled Wood © Richard Bottle

In Whistling Copse we admired the impressive Wellingtonia tree, and spotted Treecreeper and Nuthatch.

Walking back along the lane towards Newton St. Loe we had great views of Newton Park, and beyond that of Bristol and Wales. The rain thankfully held off until just before we reached our cars, after a very enjoyable walk.

Richard Bottle