Latest Newsletter

Newsletter No. 77 August 2019  

News from the Reserve from Shirley 

It is nearly twenty-five years ago when a group of Beaconsfield people formed the Friends of Holtspur Bank LNR. Over the years I have written seventy-seven newsletters.  As I said in my last letter, I have decided that it is time for me to retire – I am no longer able to visit the reserve nor even to make the coffee, so I feel quite out of touch and think it is time for me to hand over to a person who is more active.

After reading this Newsletter, please take time to read the important message from our Chairman Les Davies at the bottom of this page.

We took part in the ‘Beaconsfield Now’ day on May 11th. We had our usual display of activities and Pauline and John had made an attractive information board which the children found interesting. During the summer we have had two walks, accounts of which are given below.  

Bat and Glow Worm Walk led by Derek Bourne

On a balmy evening on July 5th a mixed age group of about 20 members and guests gathered on Cherry Tree Road ready for a bat walk and glow worm hunt. As Derek Bourne led us down Footpath 33 the bats (Common Pipistrelles) were both visible and audible (thanks to the bat detectors which we had borrowed from Chiltern Rangers). We paused for a while at the entrance to the Reserve both to let darkness descend and to learn something about the glow worm, which is actually a beetle, its life cycle and, more importantly, how to spot them. Progressing onto the top of the chalk bank we soon spotted a glowing female trying to attract a mate.  Further exploration revealed 6 others. We were fortunate that one of our guests had a glow worm lure (LED light designed to mimic the glow of a female). The lure attracted over 40 flying males, something he had not seen before. When he switched the lure off we were able to see that males glow too although at much lower intensity than the females we had seen. 

The photos show the cluster of males with and without the lure.

Summer Walk led by Dr. Brenda Harold

This year’s summer walk, on 30th June, was very well attended and the weather was hot and sunny. There is a huge variety of flowering plants on the reserve so we began by looking at some of the similar species that often confuse people, thinking about leaves and flowering time as well as the actual flowers. Rough Chervil and Cow Parsley are one such pair – very similar, but Cow Parsley was well over whilst Rough Chervil was at its peak. Common and Hoary Ragwort are another pair, and we saw several Dandelion look-alikes: Rough Hawkbit, Nipplewort (how does it spread so well without a fluffy pappus?), Smooth Hawk’s-beard, Wall Lettuce (exactly 5 florets in each head – how does it count?).  Field Scabious and Greater Knapweed were most striking with their big lilac / purple flower heads. When not in flower their leaves are confusingly similar so we looked at these. Pyramidal Orchids were abundant as ever and there were numbers of Twayblades, difficult to spot in the long grass. The chalk bank looked dry after a long period with little rain, but it would have taken a whole afternoon to count all the species.

       Pyramidal Orchid                  Field Scabious                           Knapweed

Our Annual General Meeting

This will be held at 8:00 pm on Wednesday 6th November

in the council chamber at Beaconsfield Town Hall.

As usual the business part of the meeting will be kept very short indeed and will be followed by an illustrated talk by Mick Jones entitled

‘The Duke, the Gentian and the Bee-fly’

Conservation tales from a patch in the Chilterns.

Please stay afterwards for a chat over wine and nibbles for a small donation.

A message from the Chairman of the Friends of Holtspur Bank Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

Dear Friends of Holtspur Bank LNR

I’m writing to ask for your help and support for our future activities. 

The Friends have achieved a lot since Shirley Scrivener formed it almost 25 years ago.  Working with Beaconsfield Town Council, the owner of the Reserve, the Friends have maintained and enhanced Holtspur Bank Local Nature Reserve so that it has become one of Beaconsfield’s natural jewels.  The Friends have gone from strength to strength thanks to its hard working, effective and talented Committee members and working party volunteers.  All the activities of the Friends are driven by the Committee as our regular Newsletters show with a love of this rare and delightful part of Beaconsfield’s natural environment being implicit in all that we do.  In addition, we promote the Reserve to a wider audience through our regular guided walks to ensure we maintain viable levels of membership and that we are financially stable.  

You will note from our latest Newsletter No.77 above that Shirley has decided to retire as newsletter editor having written all 77 of them.  We owe her a debt of gratitude for her staying power and dedication to the Reserve. 

Committee members move on, move away or retire and we need your help.  There are plenty more things we could do but we need more Committee members.  Without them it will be difficult to maintain our impressive list of activities or to initiate new ones.  We are in particular need of a Secretary (modest list of tasks available), Newsletter editor and someone to handle Promotion/publicity.  You would not necessarily need to join the winter practical conservation work parties although we could use some help here too.  

If you were to join us, you could expect to be well supported by other members of the Committee.  Even if you cannot make time to join the committee, please remember that we are always seeking “active” members who are prepared to help at specific events.

Remember, volunteering also has a positive impact on your own life.  You’ll meet new people living near you, you can take a refreshing break from your everyday routine, share a skill and make a difference in your community

Have I sparked your interest?  Like to find out more?  Browse this website to find out more about the Reserve or call me on 07919 336713.

With very best wishes

Les Davies