Bath Natural History Society

BATH NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY – Registered Charity No. 1107468

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Welcome to our  Bath Nats website from the President, Rob Randall

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 moved to Bath in 1969 there have been many changes, but the city and its surroundings have always supported a great variety of wildlife. The hill pastures are not as rich in wild flowers and butterflies as they once were, but with the move to more sustainable agriculture this situation should improve. Global warming has resulted in some new arrivals in our area. Among my favourites are the Ivy Mining Bees that have recently colonized sandy banks near the Pavilion Restaurant in Victoria Park. The night time roosts of Pied Wagtails in the Southgate area help to brighten the dark days of winter. They prefer the younger trees where they are safer from the attentions of the local Sparrowhawks, so they tend to move their roost site as the trees get too big. Birds of prey were much persecuted in the past but the Buzzard recovered its numbers many years ago, our resident Peregrines on St. John’s Church are now well established, and Red Kites are now often seen in the surrounding countryside.

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 Member 2022   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.

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...

Lower Woods Gloucestershire WT reserve, 24 June 2021

Lower Woods Gloucestershire WT reserve, 24 June 2021

Leader: David Goode Seven members met in the car park, where we were welcomed by the Warden, Neil Lodge. John Nyman, a very knowledgeable volunteer, joined our small party and we set off for the bridge over the Little Avon River. Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and...

Twerton Roundhill LNR,16 June 2021

Leader: Glen Maddison. Finally, after what seemed like months of cold, great, breezy conditions, the weather finally changed, and we were treated to a lovely, very warm though slightly breezy day. I met 6 others, at the base of Roundhill, and proceeded up the...

Daneway Banks Reserve (Nr Cirencester), 20 June 2021

Leader: Lucy Starling Members joined the leader at Sapperton Church for a walk down through the fields to the Daneway Banks Reserve. The reserve is being managed to conserve the Large Blue butterfly, which had become extinct in this country. It was successfully...

Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, Saturday 5 June 2021

Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, Saturday 5 June 2021

Leader: Lucy Starling This was advertised to members in early May as an additional meeting following the rescheduling of my Ham Wall Bird Song field workshop (2) from Saturday 8 May to Friday 7 May due to adverse weather forecast for that weekend. As Carole C and I...

Back to Nature by David Goode

Back to Nature by David Goode

BathNats President David Goode wrote a guest column in the June 2021 issue of Bath Magazine in which he looks back at our modern-day connection with the environment, assesses how nature in recent years has become more centre stage, and explains why this is meaningful...

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Registered Charity No. 1107468


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