Ringlet at Cherryburn

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Ringlet at Cherryburn, 2017 © David Gill

Today, 14 July 2017, marks the start of the Big Butterfly Count. Keep an eye out for butterflies when you are visiting heritage sites.

This ringlet was in the meadow behind NT Cherryburn in Northumberland, the birthplace of Thomas Bewick.

Big Butterfly Count and Heritage Sites

Butterfly

Small tortoiseshell at Castle Acre © David Gill

The UK Big Butterfly Count started on 15 July and runs until 7 August. On Thursday evening the pits at Grime’s Graves were alive with Meadow Browns.

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Meadow Brown at Grime’s Graves © David Gill

On Saturday there was a particularly fine Small Tortoiseshell in the reconstructed herb garden at Castle Acre.

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Medicinal herb garden at Castle Acre © David Gill

In previous years I spotted a Small White on the lavender in the gardens of Bolsover Castle.

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Small White at Bolsover Castle © David Gill

Why not take a pen and paper (form available) or download the app, and record how many butterflies you spot when you next visit a heritage site? Then upload it to the Big Butterfly Count.

Thorpeness Mere

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Thorpeness mere and boathouse © David Gill

Thorpeness was developed as a Suffolk coastal resort by G.S. Ogilvie in 1909. The mere was created in 1913 although the boathouse, complete with clocktower, had been completed in 1911.

 

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The House in the Clouds, Thorpeness © David Gill

One of the more unusual buildings is the House in the Clouds designed by F. Forbes Glennie and constructed in 1923-24. The watertower is disguised as a cottage.

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Thorpeness © David Gill

The village has associations with J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan, 1904) who was a friend of the Ogilvies.

Wicken Fen

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Wicken Fen © David Gill

Wicken Fen is a major National Trust property in Cambridgeshire, and a National Nature Reserve. The fen is a reminder of what so much of this part of Cambridgeshire would have looked like at the beginning of the twentieth century – and a reminder of what drainage and modern agriculture has done to these former wetland landscapes. There is a huge bio-diversity in the fen that makes it well worth a visit.

Ladybirds at Ickworth

St Mary's church, Ickworth © David Gill

St Mary’s church, Ickworth © David Gill

The ladybirds were gathering in large numbers over the weekend at Ickworth. We were able to count more than 55 on the west end of St Mary’s church (in the grounds), mostly, though not exclusively harlequins. They were clearly looking for cracks and corners as temperatures begin to dip.

The tower of the church dates to 1778. The church is now maintained by the Ickworth Church Conservation Trust.

© David Gill

© David Gill

© David Gill

© David Gill

Descend into England’s Story

Grimes Graves

Galleries at the bottom of Pit 1 at Grimes Graves (2015) © David Gill

The Neolithic flint mines at Grimes Graves must be one of the most unusual prehistoric sites in the care of English Heritage. Hard hats are worn for a steep climb into one of the pits where it is possible to look into the excavated galleries. Above ground the site is pock-marked with pits that are now covered in.

The heath is a wonderful place for wildlife: woodpecker, kite, larks and a range of butterflies were out enjoying the May sunshine.

Grimes Graves

Grimes Graves (2015)

Guides for Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth

(1981)

Chedworth Roman Villa was acquired for the National Trust in 1924. The site is located in the Cotswolds.

Sir Ian A. Richmond prepared a 15 page guide in 1966. This was revised (‘in the light of recent work on the site’) by Roger Goodburn in 1981 guide (16 pages, paper). A reconstruction was placed on the cover, and there is a double page plan of the villa in the centre showing the sequence of construction, and then a second set of plans for the bath complex in the northern range. Essentially the guide introduces the concept of the villa and then described the ‘discovery, situation and plan’ (pp. 3-4). The rest of the guide consists of a room by room guide, with a short section on the Museum (pp. 14-15).

Chedworth

(1979 [2002])

Goodburn prepared a more detailed illustrated guide in 1979 (my revised copy dates to 2002). This is illustrated with black and white images as well as plans. The main sections are:

  • The exploration of the site and a brief history of the villa
  • The Chedworth region in the Roman period
  • The growth of the house
  • The mosaics
  • The Museum (including a section on the coins by Richard Reece)
  • Buildings in the locality probably associated with the villa
  • The life and economy of Chedworth
  • The fate of Chedworth and its neighbours

There is a bibliography for the site.

Chedworth

(2012)

The 2012 guide is by Simon Esmonde Cleary. It is fully illustrated in colour and has a fold out plan at the front.

The sections are:

  • Rise and fall and discovery
  • A golden age
  • The decline of the Empire
  • Springing from the earth
  • Preserved for the public
  • Landscape and layout
  • The villa’s layout
  • Life in the villa
  • Decoration
  • Religion
  • Conserving and learning
  • Open to public view
  • Concerning conservation
  • Nature conservation
  • The story so far

The rooms appear in double page spreads with plans and reconstructions, e.g. The west range, the dining room, the west bath house, the north wing, the north bath house, room for interpretation (a wonderful bit of honesty!), the south wing, the kitchen, and the latrine.

There is a section on the Museum.

There is a note about the room numbers that were assigned in the Victorian period.

I particularly like the stress on a heritage site as a home for nature conservation with lizards and a distinctive type of snail (see here).