Natural History

Join the natural history group and learn more about the natural enviroment in which we live. We go out into the countryside to look at and identify wild flowers, trees, insects, birds and to enjoy the changing seasons.

We meet on the 3rd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 10.30am at a different venue each month. Occassionally we have an indoor meeting at 10.30am at Willow Court Community Room, (between numbers 11 and 12 Willow Court), Off Wilton Ave, Franche, Kidderminster DY11 5AU.  See Map

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Natural History Programme - 2017

Programme for 2017

        Hello Everyone

          Spring is not too far away , and even now its possible to see a fair amount of activity out there in the countryside. Daffodil bulbs are already showing and squirrels are busy finding their hidden nuts---look for scrapes under the trees especially the Oak. Now is a good time to compare buds from different trees---you can identify trees by their buds --the shape, the size and how they are set on the branch.

      The first meeting of the year will be on Thursday, 23rd February at Wilton Avenue Community Centre ( Willow Court) , . Starting 10.30. I have completed most of the programme for the coming year but I need your input  for some items  and you will then be able to see the completed programme after the meeting. If there are any places from past years you would like to visit again then let me know at the meeting.

      So , between now and the 23rd get busy with your camera and carry it with you all year--you never know when you might take a winning shot!

       See you soon.  Visitors and new members are very welcome , there is plenty of room in the countryside for everyone.

    Best Wishes for a very good Natural History Year



Febuary 25th

              Fantastic turn out for the meeting last Thursday, even though Doris was doing her best to keep everyone in doors. As promised , the following is the programme for the coming year.


           Natural History Programme   2017


23rd February    Indoor meeting   Willow Court.  10.30. 12.30

23rd  March .     Hartlebury Common. Meet 10.30 at Wilden Top for a Spring Walk.

20th April.          Upton Warren Wetland Reserve .  Group A-J  Meet Moors Carpark 10.30

27th April.            Upton Warren Wetland Reserve. Group K-Z  Moors Car Park 10.30.

18th May             Elan Valley Visitor's Centre and the Red Kite Feeding Station, Gigrin Farm.   Details later.      £18

Wednesday 24th May   Visit to the Saltwells and Doultons Pit Nature Reserve with the Geology Group. Meeting at the Rose Theatre carpark at 1.30pm. 


22nd June          Severn Valley Country Park. Meet !0.30

17th  August        Dingle , Lake, and Bog at Dudmaston Hall . Meet at 11.00.


21th September    Slimbridge  Wildfowl and Wetland Trust.  Coach. Details later.

19th October         Fungal Foray.


23rd November    Indoor meeting at Willow Court. 10.30-12.30.


If there are any queries please let me know. Directions and parking information will be on the web before the meeting.

For the Hartlebury Meeting   take the road from Stourport to Hartlebury and soon after the Severn Manor Hotel on the left, Wildon Top is on the right. Free.


Tuesday 18th April

          The next meeting is for Group A --to Upton Warren Wetland Reserve. Please bring birdbooks and binocs.Meet at the Moors Carpark at 10.30am

on Thursday 20th April.

Directions---From the first island in Bromgrove take the A38 to Worcester and after passing Chichesters Caravans on the right take the narrow tarmaced lane on the left (50yds ).Follow it down to the carpark.

    There are lots of birds about so a visit is well worth while.

The date has changed for the visit to Sandwells and Doulton Pit Nature reserve. Please look at the Programme. More details later.

    On 18th May we go to Elan Valley in the morning and then to the feeding of the Kites at Gigrin Farm in the afternoon.This was a very good day out last time and I would encourage you to come if possible--------the coach needs a few more people and if any of you who are coming know of a friend (U3A Member ) who may like a day out perhaps you could  encourage them to join us.

On the 18th we meet at Brintons Park, Sutton Rd at 9am.  Return 6pm.

 See you soon.



   May 6th

  A reminder------on Wednesday 24 th May, those who would like to, can join up with the Geology Group for a visit to Saltwells and the Doultons Pit Nature reserve. This will be lead by a ranger whom , I hope will be telling us about how  habitats are linked to the rocks beneath our feet. I hope he will make it interesting and maybe amusing. I would like to see a few of us there and if you can make it we will meet at the Rose Theatre at 1.30---car sharing. Good footwear needed.

I'm going away on the 11th May for five days , back on the 16th May . If you have any queries about Elan Valley visit two days later leave them until I come back.


 Just a thought about the Elan Valley Trip there is a very good cafe selling hot and cold snacks and meals  at the visitors centre or picnics are an option for outside. It often rains in Wales so waterproofs and strong boots / shoes are advised.

Sunday 21st May

       Hope you all enjoyed your day out at Elan Valley and the Red Kites, the latter putting on a fantastic display.

  Next month there is a change of date from the 15th June to the following Thursday,22nd June. at the Severn Valley Country Park at 10.30 am.While there I will tell you about Slimbridge, the September visit.

     Hope to see some of you on Wednesday afternoon.

    See you soon




      June 17th

Its a beautiful morning ---go outside and enjoy it!

Next meeting is on Thursday 22nd June at the Severn Valley Country Park meeting at 10.30am.Parking fee is from £1 to £2.50 depending on how long you want to stay.Plenty parking at the Visitors Centre. We enjoyed walking the walk yesterday---there is plenty to see including numerous orchids and other lovely summer wild flowers and grasses of all species.Butterflies and insects galore and a large pond where you can try your hand at pond dipping ( I will take some equipment ).It is a short walk with a very small incline at the start. Coffee and cakes at the end of the walk at the centre.I think you will enjoy this walk!

      Unfortunately we will not be able to do the walk at Dudmaston in July, but I hope to move it to the August Meeting . Will tell you later.

Slimbridge----Thursday 21st September.There are only 20 names on the list at the moment (list from the first meeting in the year) so there is plenty of room. This is a great day out which I am sure you will enjoy. I will open it to the U3A if there are not enough members of the NH group able to come. The price to include Entry and coach will be £18pp to reach me as soon as possible.

 Thats it for the moment , Hope to see you on Thursday

 Regards      Gill


22nd June

      Had a lovely walk this morning from the visitor centre  at the Country Park.A field of many wild flowers including numerous orchids the two main species being the Common Orchid and the Early Purple Orchid. Great pond dipping, have you ever seen a large dragonfly nymph catch a smaller one of the same species, fight with it and then eat it ?  Quite exciting---if you like that kind of thing!  We also saw a mass of tiny froglets , many butterflies and a hornet. So really a very good morning.

   I will not be here for the next meeting on Thursday 20th July. Is there anyone who would like to take over and take the group for a short jaunt somewhere of their own liking to 'see what you can see '.  Have a go ! Let me know  if interested.

      If you want to send a cheque for Slimbridge !!!!!     My address is

    3, Middleton Road, Kidder. DY11 5EZ.  Cheques made out to ---Wyre Forest and District U3A.




   Friday 14th July

  The meeting on Thursday 20th July has been cancelled as we have to go to Worcester and so the next meeting will be on Thursday  17th August when , maybe we will go to Dudmaston. Watch this space !

So far I have received only one persons £18 for the visit to Slimbridge. As there will be some spaces on the coach I am going to open the visit  to all members  of the U3A.

  Hope to see you all soon.




Wednesday 13th September

    Hi everyone

                 I have been very remiss just lately     Cannot believe i did not put any thing on the web for the August walk at Dudmaston.Turned out to be a good walk on a fine day.Had a good turnout of 17 so I must have told some of you about the walk.

   Now, a week tomorrow we will be coming to the end of our vist to Slimbridge. I hope we have a fine day but be prepared for anything . There is a very good restaurant but a picnic may be better as you may not want to return to the restaurant and break your tour of the site Or have some lunch before you set out !.

    See you at Brintons park on the 21st ready to leave as close to 9.00 as possible . Any problems ring me on K630123.


Sat 7th October

   Hello everyone

          I hope those who went  enjoyed the day out to Slimbridge eventhough it was a bit wet to begin with . It seems a long time ago now .

  Fungal Foray  Thursday 19th October. The flat side of Kinver edge  still seems the best place to go to see a variety of fungi, so for those who would like to hunt the fungi meet in the usual place  Sandy Lane , just pass the Maize maze in Blakeshall at 10.30am.

  How many have been busy with cameras! If you have some photos of Fauna , Flora and landscapes etc then we would love to see them Let me know if you are willing to show them to the group at the last meeting  on Thursday 23rd, November in Willow Court  at 10.30. Put them on a memory stick and Mick will try and sort out the prejector!

  See you soon



25th October

      Hello everyone.

                  Great morning looking for fungi last Thursday.Good turnout even in the pouring rain and we found a good amount of fungi.Thank you very much for joining me.

   I have cancelled the walk in Pipers wood on Thursday 16th of November due to a painful knee and so the next meeting will be on Thursday 23rd November , the indoor meeting at 10.30.

 Hope to see you all then.








Natural History Programme - 2016

Programme for 2016

February 25th   Indoor meeting Willow court !0.30.

March 17th       Spring Walk  . Dry Mill Lane car park   10.30

April 21st          Bark Rubbing.   Habberley Valley    10.30.

May 19th          Upton Warren.    Group A  Details later.     !0.30

May 26th           Upton Warren     Group B, Details later      !0.30

June 16th           Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve R.S.P.B   9.30 Brintons Park

July 21st           Pipers Hill, Nature Reserve.     Pond and insects.    10.30

August 18th     Wyre Forest meet Callow Hill Visitor Centre   10.30

September 22nd    Wilden Marsh  with Mike Griffiths (W.W.T.)  10.30

October 20th      Westonbirt Arboretum.       Details later.

October 27th      Kinver Edge   Sandy Lane    10.30

November 24th  Indoor Meeting  Willow Court    10.30


4th January

     Hope you have all had a very good Christmas are now enjoying a great New Year and looking forward to the Spring. I hope the rain will stop one day so that we can get out a bit more. The next meeting will be in February Thursday 25th at Willow Court at 10.30. I am still working on the programme for the year as I have a few visits to make over the next month to check out details, but the first outdoor meeting  will now be along the old railway track at the bottom of Dry Mill Lane   (see programme ).


February 27th.

Many thanks to everyone for coming to the meeting on Thursday, great turn out. I hope  you will find something in the programme to enjoy.  September 22nd is now filled. .If you go to an outdoor centre  during the year  which we all may find interesting , let me know. Don't forget , it's your group.Get out and about as much as you can over the coming year and OBSERVE.


March 17th.   Directions to the car park at the bottom of  Dry Mill Lane.  Go up the hill (Wyre Hill.)     out of Bewdley and take the road on the right  Lakes Rd.  Follow this round to the shop and turn left immediately after . This is now Dry Mill Lane. Its a narrow lane dropping down towards Dowles Brook. Well before the Brook, the carpark is on the left up a slight slope.


March 18th

We had a great morning out in the forest looking for signs of spring. I was very pleased to see so many turning up. It gives  me hope that many of us will learn about the country side and appreciate it.

 The next meeting is on Thursday 21st April, meeting in Habberley Valley Car Park at 10.30, for   a spot of Bark Rubbing.This might be a bit of fun! I will supply the paper and the wax crayons and as we will be looking at each others masterpieces at the end that would be a good time to have your cup of coffee and whatever. (You may bring your own coffee !)


 March 27th.

 For the moment we have decided not to go to the Saltwell pit   on the 25th May and Mike Carter. in preference, thought the Wren's Nest in Dudley would be of more interest to us . We can see plenty of Natural History there with the added bonus of fossils galore.Check this out on the programme, and I will give you more details later. The other chang e which you have probably seen on the programme is the inclusion of the visit to Wilden Marsh ( a WWT site) on Thursday 22nd September, with Mike Griffiths who looks after the site. There has been a lot of work done at the site over the years towards better conservation,and it should be a very interesting morning. More details later.


Tuesday 19th April.

   If you are joining me in Habberley Valley on Thursday 21st for a spot of bark rubbing------a few words of warning, DO NOT GO via Franche Road. There is a 5 Way traffic lights system . at the Proud Cross Island which is causing a huge traffic jam throughout the town.I'm sure you will be able to work out an alternative route but my advice is to go  via the Wolverhamton Road and the Wolverley Road if coming from the Comberton area, and the Stourport side of Kidder.. and then Sutton Park Road if comiing from the other side of Kidderminster.


23rd April

I really enjoyed Thursday morning in the valley bark rubbing and I think most of you did too,---well I hope you did. Thank goodness the weather was good   I don't think we could have coped with wet soggy paper!

        Now , next month--May.Two days Group A  Thursday 19th and Group B Thursday 26th meeting in the Outdoor Activity Centre car park at 10.30. From Bromsgrove take the Worcester Road  to the island outside Webbs Garden Centre. Turn left into the Activity centre NOT right into Webbs!. We now have to get a permit from the office (non-members) for £3. We will see the Avocets and hopefully their young, although apparently they are a little late this year. You will see many other birds as well. Don't forget your binoculars -----I will have one or two spare ones, Also bring a Bird Identification Book with you if you have one.


Thursday May 19th.

       We have had a very good morning at the reserve at Upton  Warren  We identified 14 different species of water fowl, one or two  which we had never seen before eg Black Tailed Godwit , pointed out to us by another birdwatcher with a scope. Numerous young of all sizes and sorts;; one very small avocet chick and some very cute peewit chicks. The avocets are being a bit slow to produce , so I hope they will have made a special effort for group B's visit next Thursday.

     Just a reminder for money for Sandwell Valley . To me as soon as possible, please  (£14 ).


 4th June

    We had another very good morning at Upton Warren on the 2nd Thursday . The next meeting is the visit to Sandwell valley on the 16th June,  leaving Brintons Park at 9.30. The walking is easy and, I hope enjoyable around the lake where again we should see plenty of birds and perhaps other wild life. There is an eatery for sandwiches and biscuit type snacks and a pub close by but I would recommend a picnic down by the lake-----if fine , of course. The time will be yours to wander at will  as long as we all meet at the visitors centre at 1.45 ready to have a spot of pond dipping at 2.0pm. I hope this will be a nice leisurely day  in the sun!

       The visit to the Wrens Nest in Dudley on 22nd  June has been cancelled and I will let you know why when we are all together on the coach going to Sandwell Valley.

    Please get in touch if you have any queries.

See you soon .    Gill


   15th June

         Because of this awful weather I have decided to cancel the visit to Sandwell Valley tomorrow. This is very disappointing, but it would not have been very nice walking round  in the rain for three hours. Very sorry about this---- perhaps it will be possible to shedule the visit to August. I'll think about it!    Our next get together is on  21st July  at Pipers Hill Reserve ,meeting 10.30. Details later.



Tuesday 12th July

    The next meeting is at Pipers Hill Reserve on Thursday 21st July at 10.30. I thought we might look at insects for a change as we have done very little on the subject. For those not interested in i nsects still come as the wood is lovely to walk through.

     Directions------From Bromsgrove at the first island take the B4091 signposted Worcester and soon after leaving Bromsgrove take a left turn continuing on the B4091 signposted Hanbury. Two to three miles along the road look out for Mick who will be standing on the side of the road with a big placard saying U3A. The car park is opposite down a slope, Mick will show the way.

       Hope to see you on the 21st


Thursday 14th July

     If you have the following bring them along-----penknife, small glass jar, magnifing glass and a small fishing net, not for catching fish!



2nd August

      I hope you enjoyed Pipers Hill.  I hope it was interesting and a bit of fun at the same time!

 The next meeting will be a Summer walk in the Wyre forest. Many of you will probably be away on holiday but if you are around and would like a gentle saunter in the forest then meet at Callow Hill Visitor Centre at 10.30 on  Thursday  18th August. There will be plenty to see. A pencil may be useful !

    Happy Holidays


        P.S      Car Parking at  the Visitor Centre is £3.



  Next Meeting------Thursday 22nd  September

    Meet at Marsh Farm---(10.15am) , a white house on the right side of Wilden Lane about a mile from the Worcester Road island towards Stourport. Mike Griffiths will take us for a walk around Wilden Marsh ( WWT ) to show us how conservation is continiously taking place .He advises us to wear Wellies or Walking boots as it will be quite wet. Long sleeves and trousers  ( no shorts ), also a good idea as there are nettles and briars !  He suggests !   a donation of £3pp (he requires no fee ) to go to the WWT to help towards the up keep of Wi;den Marsh the largest wetland area in Worcs.

   Look for Mick at the entrance to Marsh Farm.

     Hope to see you on the 22nd.




    Visit to Westonbirt Arboretum,  Thursday, 20th October.

   Meeting at Brintons Park, Sutton Road at 8.45am to leave prompt at 9.ooam. Return---leave Westonbirt at 4.oopm to arrive home at 6.00pm (approx. ). Strong shoes are avisable  as it may be wet in places off the main paths. There is a large shop at the centre, as well as a garden centre and a tea-room serving snacks and hot meals------but take a picnic if prefered.

      Please all wish for a fine day !,


     Thursday  27th October     Fungal Foray

          Meet Kinver Edge (flat side ), Sandy Lane at 10.30am .


Directions for Sandy Lane

           Take the lane opposite Hardwicks Garden Centre just before the Locke Pub, signposted Wolverley Village and Blakeshall. Go straight on  through the village to the traffic lights , through these ,and past Wolverley High School on the left. Carry on for approx. a mile . to Blakeshall ( a row of big houses on the left ) , follow the lane until it splits, the main lane veering round to the right , a smaller lane going straight ahead---take this  lane  and follow until you reach the cars parked along the lane. This lane is Sandy Lane.

      Hope to see you there on Thursday 10.30.

      Westonbirt was amazing, Incredible trees and wonderful colours. We all enjoyed  the day out.



    Thursday 24th November.

                Indoor meeting at Wilton Avenue C.C at 10.30am.

   This will be the last meeting of the year. We hope to see your  N.H photos taken during the year, please let me know if you have any to show. I also hope Maureen will tell us all about her visit to the Galapogos islands and show a few photographs.



November 26th

        A good turn out at the last meeting of the year . Many thanks to Maureen (and Trevor ) for putting together their photographs of the Galipigos Islands and the amazing animals found there. Also thanks to Mike and Ruth for a view of their photos.

      The first meeting of next year will be on Thursday 23rd February  10.30 at Willow Court.

 So, many thanks for all your support through out the year and now have a welcome break and a very good Christmas and an extremely prosperous New Year.


    Kind Regards


Natural History 2015 Programme

The first meeting of the year is on 26th February at 10.00am at Willow Court. By then I will have a complete new programme for the year which will include BAT watching and a visit to Chaddesley Wood to hear the dawn chorus. We will also be going to Upton Warren to bird watch, and a visit to the Discovery Centre at Craven Arms. This is just a few of the activities for the coming year. There are a few vacant places in the group as some of the members have had to drop out due to ill health-----if you have friends in the U3A who may find the group interesting, please bring them along.   Don't forget the photo competition-----we need a bit of snow!

Have a very good Christmas and a prosperous New Year.



Hello everyone----hope you have all had a good holiday and are looking forward to Natural History in 2015. The first meeting is on Thursday 26th February at Willow Court. I have said 10.00 meet--------the doors will open at that time but the meeting will start at  10.30 as usual.

     If you have been able to take some good photographs and would like to enter them in the competition , max.2, please put them in an envelope and give them to Mick when you arrive. Do not write anything on the envelope. He will put them on the green board for everyone to see  and somebody will pick the winner!



         GROUP A -----A to L          GROUP  B ------ M to Z

February 26th        Indoor meeting   10.30 --12.00.  Willow Court

                   Photographic competition.

March 19th           'Signs of Spring' ----Walk in Comer Wood.    Meet 10.30am

                          Park at the sawmill car park along the lane opposite Dudmaston Hall


April 16th          Bats.  Meet at Sue Langley's Farm. An evening meet 9.00pm.?

April 23rd         Dawn Chorus with Mervyn Needham .Meet 5.30am at St. Cassian's

                         Church lychgate in Chaddesley Corbett.-------------£3

May 14th          Wetland Reserve at Upton Warren.      Group A ------£3

                        Meet  at the Moors  Car Park.      10.30am.

May 28th          Wetland Reserve at Upton Warren         Group B ------£3

                         Meet at the Moors Car Park.        !0.30am.

June  18th        Discovery Centre at Craven Arms.  Coach

                         Meet at Brintons Park, Sutton Road . Leave 9.30am.--------£12

June 24th         Lickey Hills reserve and Quarry. This is a joint venture with the

Wed.                         Geology Group and Mike Carter, and a Ranger. We use our own

                       cars but there will be a small fee for the ranger. Meet 2.30pm-4.30pm.

July 16th        Puxton Marsh     Group A .  Meet 10.30am.

July 30th        Puxton Marsh      Group B   Meet 10.30am.

August 20th    Summer Walk.    Wyre Forest ( red route). --Meet10.30am at the

                        Callow Hill Visitor Centre.

September 17th       Safari Park. Tour of the Park by mini-bus. Meet at the Park 

                                 at 10.30am.  

October 22nd      Signs of Autumn.     Meet in the carpark at the entrance to Eymore

                             Wood.   10.30 am.

November 19th     Pipers Hill Reserve .     Fungi and the colours of Autumn. Meet in

                            the W.W T. car park on  B4091.     10.30am.

November 26th     Indoor meeting----Willow Court     10.00-12.00.



       I hope that looks interesting enough ------Any problems and we will chat them through.      See you on the 26th.



March 1st

    It was very good to see so many at the meeting---many thanks for coming. I hope the programme is to your liking and that we can have some fun with it.  Well done to Pauline for her photograph of the forlorn looking seagulls sitting on the ice--I thought it looked very wintery. Mike's photograph of the spider , although not too seasonal, was the kind of photograph we could all have a go at . It was brilliant. Try this year ,to look at insects and photograph them. I'm going to have a go. It may well suprise us.

The next meeting is a walk through Cromer wood meeting at the 'saw mill' carpark(just beyond the saw mill ) along the lane opposite the entrance to Dudmaston Hall for a 10.30 am start. I'm looking forward to the start of Spring. See you there.



    March  2nd.

         Please note-----Groups are slightly different  e.g  Group A ------Ato L

                                                                                        Group B-------M to Z.

         This grouping is flexible to a certain extent, but I would like to keep the groups as even in numbers as possible.



March 30th

Hello Group.

I hope you enjoyed the walk in Comer wood ,even though there was'nt much to see in the way of spring. But it was quite a good refresher course.

   I'm going away next week. When I return I will get in touch with Sue Langley about the bats and then let you know whether its still on. If these bats have got any sense they will still be hibernating! If they have woken up and Sue is still willing to have us I will let you know ,and give you directions on how to get to Hexton Farm.


Happy Easter and see you soon.           Gill


Monday 13th April.


             Hope you have all had a good Easter. I've been up on the east coast at Flamborough Head at the new R.S.P.B Centre from where the Spring Watch team filmed just before Easter. Great place-------saw Gannets, Guillimots, Kittiwakes Razorbills, and Fulmers by the hundreds and TWO puffins.

    Now,   NO Bats this Thursday, the 16th. Sue has only seen two so far this year, they are still hibernating. We have decided to leave the visit until next month as Sue is busy for the rest of this month and a few more weeks will guarantee the full quota of bats.   At the moment we are looking at Thursday 21st May. I will then give you directions to her farm.

    The next meeting is on Thursday 23rd April with Meryvn to listen to the Dawn Chorus.   5.30 start. Parking on the road by the Lychgate of St. Cassian's Church. Lets have a good turnout to make Meryvn's early rise worthwhile. Breakfast is served from 8 am at the tearoom in the village, if interested. No booking necessary.

   Hope to see you then.          Gill


26th April

 Hi everyone,

            Many thanks to those who came to listen to the dawn chorus with Mervyn. It was a bit chilly at the start of the walk but as we walked across the fields towards the wood the light came up and slowly the temperature began to rise. It was a lovely morning to be out and about early. Walking  along the lane across the field Mervyn picked out the songs of the White Throat and the Blackcap and, a bird unknown to me , the grasshopper warbler. Wrens were abundent as were the robins and blackbirds.We listened to everything avidly.On entering the wood we very soon heard the chiff-chaff, the willow warbler, and the great-tit. Mervyn made a count of the birds heard and recognised along the walk and finished with a list of 31 birds. Not a bad morning's work! It was good to finish off the walk with a very  welcome breakfast at the tea room in the village. Hope you enjoyed it all.

The next meeting in May will be the visits to the Upton Warren Wetland Reserve. Group A visit is on Thursday 14th May and Group B--on Thursday 28th May. Meet at the Moors carpark for 10.30 start.The Moors carpark is along a lane going off from the A38 on the left, a couple of miles from Bromgrove towards Webbs Garden Centre.

Bring binoculars------I do have a spare pair, and it can be quite cold.


In between the Upton Warren visits there is now the visit to Sue Langley's farm on  Thursday 21st May  meeting at 8.30pm at the farm to see the bats.Sue has kindly said she will give us coffee before we meet the bats. Sally Pendergast (sec. of the Worcs Bat Group and her partner Andy Grubb will be there, with bat detectors, to give all the information.  As they have kindly said they will come it would be good to see as many as possible from the group.

    Directions for Hextons farm--------

1. Take the Bridgnorth Road--A442 and drive through Shatterford, At the site of the old Red Lion Pub now the site of 6 new houses, take the left turn opposite signposted Arley. After 1/2 mile take the first turn right along a narrow lane(No 45 cycle route sign). After a few yards the road forks, take the Left fork onto a private road. Sign -Hextons Farm on a tree on the left----No unauthorised access. Drive along this lane, careful of the bumps ,until you see the barns and 10 garages, Yiu have arrived.

 All for now because I'm going to have my lunch!



  9th May       Good Morning.

        A couple of things. I would like some money from the people who are going to the Discovery Centre on 18th June. If possible could you pay on the visit to Upton Warren if you are coming on either the 14th or the 28th May or on the Bat evening 21st May. I could do with more of the group going as there are 10 seats empty at the moment. If you have friends in the U3A but not perhaps in the N.H group but may like a day out, do try to encourage them to come. (£12).

     This Thursday 14th is the visit for group A  to Upton Warren. If you are stuck on directions give me a ring   K 630123. I,m looking forward to Thursday.

          See you soon,             Gill


Sunday 24th May

      We had a great evening with the bats on Thursday---I'm sorry so many of .the group were not able to come. Sally Prendergast-----the secretary of the Worcs. Bat Group told us all about bats while we sat drinking coffee in Sue's orchard on the perfect summers evening. When dusk fell we went back to the barns to watch the bats, of which there were numerous, leaving to forage for their supper. Sally gave each of us a bat detector and so we were able to follow the bats listening to the little 'clicking ' noises as they flew around us. Two bat rescue people also joined us for the evening as they were later going to release a long eared bat down at the river at Arley. We were able to see the the bat and they invited us to go with them to watch the release. A great evening thanks to Sue.

         Next meeting ----Group B and anyone else who missed the earlier meeting  at Upton Warren and who would like to come.----28th May.



6th June

     The visit to the Lickey quarry with the geology group on 24th June has now been cancelled  due to a slight mix up with the dates. I have not organised anything else to take its place.

       The next meeting is the visit to the Discovery Centre. there are 3 or4 people who have not yet paid!


23rd June

      Hope you enjoyed the day out to the Discovery Centre. I think we found a good number of species in the wild  meadow and the lake was quite interesting. My granddaughter pulled the pellet to pieces and it consisted of, pretty well entirely, a full skull and the beak of a smallbird--perhaps a bluetit, not really very nice! I would think the pellet came from an owl as they do tend to swallow their food whole.

    Next meeting  Puxton Marsh.  Group A Thursday 16th July and Group B  Thursday 30th July ---10.30 meet.

      Directions-----From town to the Horse Fair ,turn left at the lights and then left again ---follow the road down the hill and park at the bottom of the road or a little further along near the new houses. See you then.



August 1st

         I hope you enjoyed your Puxton Marsh walks. The Summer Walk in the Wyre Forest due on the 20th August will now take place on the 27th August instead.Hope you can still make it. Meet at the Callow Hill Visitor centre for 10.30 start. There is a parking fee.



     The walk in the wyre forest scheduled for 27th August is now cancelled due to ill health,   I'm very sorry about this.



safari park. 17th September       Meet at the safari park at 10.15am ready to move off at 10.30am.



   8th September

     Latest on the Safari Visit.    Please meet now at just after 10.00 at the park and Mick will tell you where to go. The minibuses now want to leave at 10.15. I'm looking forward to our with the animals. See you soon.



    18th September

       We had a very good day at the Safari Park yesterday.  The weather was warm and sunny and the driver of the minibus, Clive ,knew every thing there was to know about the animals. He took us off the main road, across the grass in order to get as close to the animals as possible, including the lions! We were able to take a lot of photos and with the titbits he had he was able to entice the sunbathers to get up and stroll over to the minibus. We then spent the rest of the day in the small animals area  where the new enclosue for the dinosaurs(slightly bigger animals!) was to be found.Well worth seeing and a great addition to the Park. From all the comments I heard I think everyone enjoyed the day . Many thanks to everyone who came.



1st October

   The next meeting is a walk through Eymore wood down to the Severn and the reservoir and back to the car park . We will be looking at the signs of Autumn and finding different methods of seed disposal.

    Directions to Eymore Wood ---Thursday 22nd October --Meet 10.30.

   Take the Franche Road out of town, past the Co.op to the small island and turn left. Go along Habberley Lane to the island and turn right to go through Low Habberley------follow the road up the hill past the Golf Club to the T junction--turn right. After about 100 yds take the left fork signposted Trimpley reservoir---follow the road to its end. Car park on the left.

   Hope to see as many of you as possible.



October 20th.

  The following are the directions to the Pipers Hill Reserve which we hope to go to on Thursday  !9th November.This is a Beech wood with some very old trees ,fantastic fungi, and glorious Autumn colours.

     From Kidderminster take A449 (Worcester Rd.) to the traffic lights at Somerfield and turn left onto the A442 Droitwich Rd.  At the 1st island in Droitwich turn left (A38) and follow the dual carriageway to the lights.Turn right back towards the town and at the traffic lights turn left onto the B4090 for three miles. Turn left onto the 4091 signposted Hanbury and Stoke Prior and go past the Jenny Ring (craft centre ) on the left, up the hill to the wood and the carpark ( N.T.) is on the left towards the end of the wood.


   Sunday 8th November.

  Hi every one.

        We have been over to the Pipers Hill Reserve this morning and found part of the road out of Droitwich to Hanbury will be closed to traffic during the week of Thursday  19th November .Because of this  the directions above are null and void !

        New directions to Pipers Hill-----

Take the Kidderminster to Bromgrove road. At roundabout take the B 4091 signposted Worcester. After a couple of miles and straight over at the mini roundabout, take the turning to the left still on the B 4091 signposted Hanbury. Follow the road for 2 miles approx. and look for the car park on the right side of the road at the beginning of the woodland. There will be a U3A sign on roadside or Mick!

        After all the rain we have had this week the reserve is very muddy in places and rather slippery ,so suggestion---walking boots or other strong footwear .It might too slippery for welly boots. Hope I haven't put you off !



    5th December

  Sorry about this ,  my computer has been playing up and I have'nt been able to get the Internet.

     Back to Pipers Hill . Many thanks to the brave ones who turned up, and even though it rained most of the time I think we still enjoyed ourselves. A cupper at the Jinny Ring ended the morning very nicely.

      There was a good turnout at the last meeting of the year at Willow Court when we went over the years activities. The Discovery Centre and the visit to the Safari Park were popular and much enjoyed. After a refreshment break and a bit of a quizz on the identification of some birds , we chatted about the possible programme for the coming year  I'm not going to say anymore at the moment. You will have to come to the next meeting, an indoor one at Willow court on the Thursday 25th February starting at 10.30am.

       Have a great Christmas and a very prosperous New Year. I will see you in February. Many thanks for all your support during the year.

  Happy Christmas


Natural History 2014 Programme

   Group A---A toJ       Group B----K to Z

February 27th   Indoor meeting    Willow Court 10.30.

March 20th       Coniferous Woodland.   Meet at Hawkbatch, 10.30. Both groups together.

April 17th.        Decidious Woodland.  Meet at Spennells Carpark, 10.30. Both groups together.

May 15th       Upton Warren Wetland Reserve.   Group A.

May 22nd       Upton Warren :       :          :   .   Group B.

                          Meet at the Moors carpark at 10.00. Please note time.

June 26th        Pond Dipping   Lower Smite Farm. Meet 10.30.Both groups.

July 17th        Knapp and Paper Mill Nature Reserve. By coach. Both groups meet at Brintons Park at 9.30. Please note time.

August 21st    Puxton Marsh  Group A  Meet 10.30.

August 28th    Puxton Marsh  Group B  Meet 10.30.

September 18th   Lowland Heath. Venue yet to be decided. Both groups.

October 16th     Martin's Farm.  Both groups together.

October  14th    Fungi Foray. Severn Valley Nature Reserve.  Both groups.

November 20th        Slimbridge. Meet at BrintonsPark at 9.15 for 9.30 leave.

November 27th       Indoor meeting at Willow Court at 10.30am.


Our first meeting of  the year ,which was vey well attended. was on February 27th. We spent the first part of the meeting reading through the programme for the coming year. It included the visits to 5 very different habitats----coniferous woodland, decidious woodland, wetland, lower heathland and marsh, with the hope of learning more about these habitats such as the history and geology of the each habitat and the flora and fauna, insects and the bird life of each area. At the end of the year we hope to bring together all we have learnt and , with the help of a chart realise the significence of each habitat.

Further visits include the Knapp andPaper Mill Nature Reserve near Alfrick, pond dipping at Lower Smite Farm, the head quarters of the W.W.T, bird watching at Upton Warren Wetland Reserve, Fungi Foray at the Severn Valley Nature Reserve in October , and a visit to the Slimbridge Wetland Reserve to watch the feeding of the Whooper and Bewick swans (migrants) and our own species the Mute Swans which takes place at 4 pm every day during the winter.

After the coffee break Rose told us about her holiday in the Antarctic and her visits to the Falklands and South Georgia.With some great photographs of penguins, seals,  seabirds, iceberg landscapes and snowcovered mountains she enthused us all. Many thanks , Rose. We will look forward to hearing about your next holiday.Also, many thanks to Neil who stood in at the last moment to work the projector.


  The group had the first outdoor meeting yesterday 20th March.There was a very good turnout eventhough the weather forcast was rather dismal. We met at Hawkbatch and Diane and Janet started the ball rolling with a short introductory talk on coniferous woodland, the theme of the day.As we walked through the forest we identified five conifers by looking at the needles and how they were arranged on the branchlet, looking at the cones and the  bark of the tree. We spent some time discussing the flora and the fauna and the birds which could possibly be seen in such a habitat. We had two short diversions ,one to the viewpoint overlooking Trimpley Reservoir which some of the group had'nt been to before,and then,retracing our steps to three woodant nests. These we found to be in a poor condition and the ants were huddled together on the surface of the nest trying to keep warm on quite a cold day ,whereas a week previously when we had visited the area the ants had been very active. Before leaving the ants we had a chat about woodpeckers!


  April 18th

Yesterday the group visited Spennells Nature Reserve in order to look closely at a Decidious woodland habitat and compare it with a coniferous woodland habitat which we had walked through last month. After a very informative introduction by  Mike we set off walking through the reserve observing the trees, the many flowers (identifying as much as we could) listening to the birds and identifying them and enjoying the guidance of Mike and Ann.It was a great walk through beautiful woodland.Mike and Ann put in a lot of work for this walk and they did a fantastic job. (I can now see retirement round the corner knowing the group is in very safe hands----but not just yet.) Many thanks again Mike and Ann.

Our next meeting is at the Upton Warren wetland reserve on the 15th May (groupA) and the 22nd May (group B) Please meet at the Moors car-park at 10.00. Directions for the car-park are as follows :

   Take the A 38 Droitwich---Worcester road from Bromsgrove and after three miles, having passed the Chichester  caravan centre on your right, look for a narrow tarmac lane on your left. Usually there is a red sign at the start of the lane advertising  ' Lifestyle'. The lane leads to the Moors car-park.

     If you would like a map ---- see me .


    On Thursday 26th June we go pond dipping at Lower Smite Farm. Directions and more information will follow shortly.

    On Thursday 17th July we go to the Knapp and Paper Mill Nature reserve. (coach). I would like to start collecting the money in for this visit.

     £8 per.person. For non-members of the W.W.T. a donation of £3 would be gratefully recieved.

     When ever we visit a W.W.T. site it is usually customery to give a donation as they don't charge for entry.

     Thats all for now,folks---I hope its relatively clear!          Gill 


     22nd May

   We have had two good days at Upton Warren with Group A visiting one day and Group B the other. At the hide overlooking the large lake we were able to see Oystercatchers with young, Avocets, Shell ducks , Shovellers, Grebes, Coots, Moorhens,  Canada Geese all with young, and a solitary Heron. At the smaller hide on the other side of the lake we were lucky enough to see a pair of  Little Grebe ( Dab Chick) in the throws of courtship, presenting each other with bits of weed. Bullfinches, Greenfinches, Reed Buntings, Reed Warbles, Blue Tits, young Coots ,and young Moorhens and a solitary rat busy clearing up after the birds.We were all kept busy with our binoculars afraid to miss anything.Two very good mornings.

     Many thanks to Janice, Rose, Iris and Pauline , who had volunteered to do some research on the wetland and gave us a short talk on their findings before going to the hides. This covered the history of the area and also gave us an idea of the different species of birds we would very possibly see.

      Our next meeting ,pond -dipping is at Lower Smite Farm, on the Thursday 26th June meeting at 10.30.They will provide all equipment.You might like to wear wellies, although I'm sure we w'ont be paddling!  Directions for  Lower Smite Farm----following----

     Take the Kidderminster to Worcester road A449 and then at the island follow the approach road to the motorway. At the island(five ways ) take the 1st left A4538 to Droitwich. At the next island take the 2nd exit signposted Offerton and Smite-----follow winding lane, canal on left, to road junction and turn left along Smite Lane. Carry on past Upper Smite Farm to Lower Smite Farm and park in large car park on the left.  

         Hope to see you there.              Gill


More news about pond-dipping .Peter Case ,the Water and Wetlands Officer , will be showing us the ropes and telling us about the creatures we find. He will then take us to the Lab. and we will be able to see said creatures under the microscope, which I think will be great. Tea, coffee and biscuits will also be served and I'm sure we will have a very interesting morning.There is a charge for this visit and I think it will be worth every penny. With 20 people going it will be £5 p.p. Please let me know if you are not able to come to this meeting as I would like to give Peter some idea about the number.



        30th June

   I hope you all enjoyed  the pond dipping last Thursday-----I think we all quite enjoyed ourselves and were fairly impressed with the huge number of inhabitants of various sorts we found in the ponds. Peter and Steve were great enthuiasts and we learnt a lot from them and I am sure we would like to thank them for their hospitality, cheerfulness, and patience! The coffee, tea and biscuits went down a treat.

        The next meeting is on Thursday 17th July when we go by coach to the Knapp and Paper Mill Nature Reserve at Alfrick. This reserve is owned and looked after by the W.W.T  It's a lovely walk along the valley beside the Leigh Brook-----hopefully,we may see kingfishers, and there is plenty of other wild life to be seen  if we can keep relatively quite! The return walk from the Paper Mill climbs up through two fields into lovely woodland  and then rejoins the brook near the start of the walk. Boots / strong shoes advisable as it can be muddy in places.  There are toilets but no eating facilities although there may be a coffee machine in the schoolroom. So packed lunches please. Pick up is at Brintons Park , To leave at 9.30. We will leave the reserve between 2.0pm----3.0pm ----- we will play it by ear a bit .



     Wednesday 9th July

I'm looking forward to next Thursday   Just keep our fingers crossed for a fineday.On the programme you will see the August meeting was to be at Puxton Marsh.I would like to cancel both days the 21st and the 28th as my sister -in- law is coming to spend the week with us to help us celebrate a big wedding anniversary!  But we can meet again on Thursday 18th September at Blackstone carpark for a walk round the Rifle Range to look at all aspects of a lowland heath.

   In October we have two meetings. On Tuesday 14th we are being taken on a Fungal Foray walk at Severn Valley Country Park by a ranger. Should be good .( Proberly  £3 ). And then on Thursday 16th October Martin Delahay has invited us to enjoy a walk around his farm.

     Then on Thursday 20th November we are booked in for a visit to Slimbridge to mainly watch the feeding of the swans at 4pm. I will give you more details about this day a bit later on. 

     If you have any problems with any of this programme let me know.

   See you on Thursday            Gill 


Wednesday 8th October

Directions for Martins Farm for a week tomorrow, Thursday 16th October.    --Take the Bridgenorth road out off  Kidderminster, go round the first bend indicated by big black and white arrows and before the next bend where there are signs restricting the speed to 35 miles per hr,  take the rough track on the left with a sign ----Lowe Barnes at the entrance.  Drive along this track---1/2 mile---pass The Badgers on the right and then Martin's Farm----Holly Bank is on the left.

      As most of the walk is over grassland it would be a good idea to wear boots or wellies.This is an amazing place but I'm not going to tell you any more!

      See you on Tuesday for the fungus hunting.


October 24th

      I hope you enjoyed the fungal foray even though there was a lack of fungi--well exciting fungi, and I felt Martin's Arboretum was quite an eye opener and amazing.

    A change of date for the indoor meeting-----please note.It is now Thursday 27th November, not Thursday 11th December. Still at Willow Court, meeting at 10.30.Please bring any photos, on a memory stick and we will try to show them. Hope to see everyone then.



     22nd November

   Hope you all enjoyed the visit to Slimbridge ----the weather certainly made the day.Just a reminder----indoor meeting next Thursday 27th November at 10.30 . Bring photos ,either on a memory stick or that we can put out on a table for all to see. Also bring ideas for  subjects  next year.