Parishes Magazine – August 2022

Solstice Festival

A big thank you from Stonehenge Campsite to all from the village who attended and supported the Solstice Festival. It was a great success with many of you enjoying the live music, stalls and entertainment throughout the day and evening events. It was nice to see people popping in and out of the festival enjoying and seeing the bits they loved best. We hope to see you again next year and at the VW festival later in October.

Late Summer BBQ

A summer BBQ is being planned for 10th September at 4pm in the park and will be a good excuse to use the new marquee.

Village Pantry

The pantry is continuously being restocked and refreshed with new items. Please continue to use it if you’re short on something and don’t fancy venturing out to the shops or you can also drop off pantry items you no longer need etc.  All funds donated to the pantry go back into restocking.

Nature Watch

2022 has already proven to be an interesting year for wildlife in and around the village.  Our resident hedgehogs were up and about very early in the year and we even had a couple of tiny ones which we hadn’t spotted last autumn that had successfully over-wintered.  They were well-under the weight that would normally be recommended for intervention, but seemed very happy when seen and have grown rapidly since.  We are also getting a better idea of where they roam overnight by setting camera traps around the place.  We know, for instance, that they regularly wander out of the garden and into Meadow View, then back through the garden and out to St Peter’s Close and towards the church.  They now have their own channel on YouTube which you can find by searching for “The Daily Hedgehog”.

Bats have also featured quite strongly.  During the cold snap around Easter, we noticed a little brown bundle in one of our herb pots.  This turned out to be a rather cold and hungry Brown Long-Eared Bat.  As it was very weak, we contacted the Bat Conservation Trust, who put us in contact with Bat Woman.  Who knew she lived in Amesbury!   Anyway, the bat was taken off for a feed on delicious Mealworms (they taste really quite nice if lightly toasted…) before it was released when its  weight increased to a safe level.   We’ve also taken part in the Bats in Churches project, sponsored by Natural England, and surveyed St Peter’s on its behalf.  It’s clear that we have bats in the belfry, but we also have signs of bat activity in the nave and the Village Hub.  We are hoping to borrow a bat detector over the summer, so we can determine exactly what species of bats we have in the church and around the village.

Last week, we got a call from Doris on Church Street.  She had found a monstrous moth in her garden and wanted to know what it was.  It was indeed a monster and the biggest specimen we’ve ever seen of the Privet-Hawk Moth; the UK’s largest resident Hawk-moth.  It has a lovely human skull and spine pattern on its thorax and abdomen, but they aren’t as obvious as those on the Death’s-Head Hawk Moth.  It has a glorious pink and black striped abdomen, which can only be seen when its wings are open.  You may never have seen the adult moth, but I’m sure several of you will have seen the fantastic, large and lime-green caterpillar which feeds on wild and garden Privet (Ligustrum), Lilac (Syringa) and young Ash saplings (Fraxinus), Guelder-rose, Holly, Honeysuckle, Snowberry, Vibernum tinus, Forsythia and Spirea.  You may see the adults until the end of July and the caterpillars until the end of September.

Finally, several villagers have seen the White-Tailed Eagle that has been visiting the Till Valley for the last few weeks.  A lot to look out for.

Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council