Programme

Summer programme 2021

During the summer, the Society normally holds outdoor meetings every Tuesday from end April / beginning May through to the end of August. This year we began in May with virtual walks, where a member guided us around a local area through Zoom.

With the relaxation of Covid restrictions, we are organising some outdoor meetings, though occasional meetings will continue to be held on Zoom. For guidance on Meeting by Zoom, follow the link: https://mknhs.org.uk/zoom-support/

All members of the Society are reminded that during Society outdoor activities they must comply with current Government and Public Health rules and guidance concerning Covid-19.

For any forthcoming Society activity, each member who is planning to participate should assess his/her own risk and that of their household having regard to his/her own health and circumstances. This requirement is in accordance with the Society’s Constitution that states ‘Members taking part in any meeting or activity do so at their own risk.’

Practical and Covid-19 risk assessments are carried out in advance of each planned walk. Before the start of each walk, the walk leader will reinforce the message about risk. 

Outdoor meetings start at 7pm unless otherwise stated. Please arrive 15 minutes before the walks are due to start, so we can run through the Society’s risk assessment as appropriate.

Information about later walks, updated COVID restrictions etc.will be available on this page, and through the links under Society Events in the sidebar.

Note that there is also a page of self-guided walks, with directions and guidance on what you might see.

June

1st North Loughton Valley Park – Joe Clinch
This will be an outdoor event, arrive 6.45 for 7.00pm
start

The planned walk will include the site of the Roman Villa at Bancroft, the North Loughton Valley Park, and the Windmill at Bradville. There should be a reasonable range of birds, insects and plants, and it is hoped that the Bradville bee orchids will still be in flower.

Given the current limit of 30 people for meeting outdoors, we will split into two groups if there are more than 30 attendees.

Meet at the Parks Trust North Loughton Valley Park car park at Bancroft Park, Constantine Way off Millers Way at SP 826 404
(NB. not the adjacent Bancroft Park Residents Club private car park at MK13 0RA)

8th  Early Spring flora, including orchids at Aston Clinton Ragpits – Di Parsons
On Zoom, at 8.00pm

15th  Stanton Low fields – Martin Kincaid
Outdoor event; arrive 6.45 for 7.00pm start
Open grassland and scrub next to Grand Union Canal. A chance to look at two recently created limestone scrapes and surrounding landscape, rich in wild flowers and insects.

Meet at the car park off Wolverton Road, SP 838419.

22nd  Birdsong ID Quiz – Kenny Kramer
Meeting by Zoom. 7.45 for 8.00 pm start.  (A link will be cirulated in advance of the meeting.)
Check out your knowledge of the bird songs and calls you may hear on walks around Milton Keynes, and pick up ID tips at the same time. There will be plenty of easily identified birds as well as a few challenging ones for the more experienced birders!

A chance to learn to identify birds by sound  and improve your birding skills in a fun and light-hearted way.

26th (Saturday) Evenley Wood Gardens, Northants – Martin Kincaid
Outdoor event:
11.00am – 4.00pm (Please arrive by 10.45am
)
A chance to visit these beautifully landscaped gardens, with woodland, meadows and streams, rich in wildlife. The owners have kindly granted us free entry in exchange for our records, so please come ready to record. Excellent facilities including café and toilets.

Please meet at car park at 11am sharp as we need to enter the site together. Postcode: NN13 5SL (Grid ref: SP596349).

29th Shenley Wood – Mike LeRoy
Outdoor event; arrive 6.45 for 7.00pm start
Shenley Wood is a 30ha semi-natural ancient woodland with ‘tear-drop’ ponds to its east, all managed by The Parks Trust. Oak, ash, aspen in the canopy, field maple, hazel and goat willow in the understorey. Remnants of coniferisation from the 1950s. Over 160 flowering plant species,18 species of butterfly, 225 of moths, 182 of beetles, around 25 breeding bird species, plus bat roosts. Ponds used by newts. Grasshoppers and bush-crickets in grass by the lakes. Some areas remain muddy throughout the year.

Before we walk there will be a brief introduction to the Wood and its history.

Meet in car-park off west end of Merlewood Drive, opposite Shenley Wood primary school. Grid Reference: SP 82316 35646. Nearest Postcode: MK5 6GG.

July 

6th Bats and glow-worms in Newton Blossomville – Julie Lane
Outdoor event; arrive 9.15 for 9.30 pm start

A late evening walk in this beautiful north Buckinghamshire village to listen out for bats and other wildlife down by the river Ouse, visit the local church to find out about bats in churches and then wander up a country road looking out for glow worms in the verges. We also hope to do some star gazing on the way – weather permitting.

Bring a torch and warm clothes as it might be chilly. Please also bring a bat detector if you have one and a torch if you feel you need one although hopefully we can manage without.

Location: Newton Blossomville SP924514 Postcode MK43 8AN
Park in the village along the main road towards the end near the church and the road turning up to Hardmead. Grid ref SP923514  (MK43 8AF)
Length of walk – approximately 0.5-1 mile

13th        Simpson village                                   Rebecca Hiorns/ Peter Barnes
6.45 for 7.00 pm start
A walk, on a mix of surfaced paths and low grass, around the village of Simpson, looking at both the naturally occurring flora and fauna and recently-initiated projects aimed at enhancing biodiversity.

Meet in the Parks Trust car park (free) at the southern end of Simpson Drive.  MK6 3AD. OS Map reference SP883362.

17th  (Saturday) College Wood George Higgs mothing evening. Gordon Redford
Saturday 9.00pm  till late.
An annual event in memory of George Higgs. A later start than normal to allow for some good mothing time, weather permitting. Bring fold-up chairs. A torch and a flask of something to drink have been helpful in the past.

Meet at the roadside car park south of Nash at MK17 0EH. SP 787328

20th.  ‘The fairy flax walk’ – Jenny Mercer
From 6.30 pm
Meet Holy Trinity church, Old Wolverton. (narrow entrance opposite Slated Row School).
Postcode for church: MK12 5NJ. Grid ref: SP803413
Churchyard is interesting, church open from 6.30 for those interested.

Mainly botanical interest.  After exploring the Churchyard, we depart on the walk 7.00-7.15. Mainly on metalled path and some grass fields.
A member of the congregation will be on hand to show us around the church.

27th Pilch Field late summer flora – Mary Sarre
Meet 4.00pm.
An early start in the hope that birds and invertebrates will still be active. The main interest is the late summer flora in the traditionally-managed pasture (Meadowsweet, devils-bit-scabious, fleabane, dropwort). The fields are bordered by thick hedgerows, where we may see warblers or Yellowhammer.  We may do some hedgerow dating. Some wet flushes. Docile cattle in fields. A short amble, of about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Uneven ground.

Meet at the entrance to the fields, on the corner of the lane west of Great Horwood, SP749321. Nearest postcode: MK17 ONX.

31st (Saturday) Visit to Summer Leys NR  – Joe Clinch
Start: 11.00am
This BCNWT nature reserve of 50 hectares has been created from former gravel workings in the Nene Valley. There is a large lake with several islands and a number of inlets together with some ponds and areas of trees, bushes and meadow. It should offer a good range of birds (with 4 hides), dragonflies, butterflies and other insects. The site is wheelchair friendly. There are no toilets.

Meet in the reserve car park at SP 885 634. CAR SHARING VERY STRONGLY ADVISED

Directions: Leave the A509 at the roundabout on the outskirts of Wollaston then follow the brown signs to ‘Summer Leys Nature Reserve’ (on the minor road to Great Doddington).
If travelling via the A45, leave at the Great Doddington exit (B573) and again follow the brown signs to ‘Summer Leys Nature Reserve’. It is possible that a car parking charge will have been introduced by the planned date. For further information go to: wildlifebcn.org/sites/Summer Leys

August

3rd         Haversham Lake with Sailing club members   –   Mary and Phil Sarre
6.45 for 7.00pm start
Meet in the Sailing Club Car Park entrance opposite No 24 High Street, Haversham. Grid Reference: SP829 429.

This walk takes us around the Lake, with members of the Sailing club who have been active in improving the land for wildlife.  Walking fairly easy, though on rough grass paths. Entire circuit more than one hour, option of half the circuit.

10th        Tattenhoe Park  –  Harry Appleyard
6.45 for 7.00pm start

Meet alongside Priory Rise School on Bronte Avenue, Tattenhoe Park. Postcode for school is MK4 3GE.

With a variety of habitats including small areas of deciduous woodland, balancing ponds, rough grassland, and a floodplain meadow, this increasingly urbanised site in the south west corner of MK has reaped many rewards from regular visits in recent years, particularly for passage migrants, some of which in late summer have included Tree Pipits, Wheatears, Redstarts and Hawfinch.

The current plan for the walk route encompasses the soon-to-be residential roads which run between the rough grassland owned by Homes England and onto gravel paths within the southern section of the site, the Tattenhoe Valley Park, owned by The Parks Trust. There are some uneven surfaces along the unmaintained roads and the footpaths within the Tattenhoe Valley Park, with some overhanging vegetation in places. Check website for any last-minute changes.

17th  Tongwell Lake walk   –   All members
6.45 for 7.00pm start

Meet at the car park at the end of Yeomans Drive, Blakelands. SP866 422.

A circular walk around the lake, about an hour, to see what we can see – not visited for many years.

24th   Floodplain Forest walk  – all members
6.45 for 7.00pm start

Meet at the Manor Farm Court car park, Old Wolverton, promptly for 7.00 start (dusk will be near 8.00pm)

31st   BBQ and mothing at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.  Gordon Redford and Andy Harding
Start 19.30hrs.

Meet at the car park at MK14 5AH for a late season mothing session with some sugaring before lighting up at 8pm. There are some fine moths to be seen at this time, weather permitting. As ever, fold-up chairs, refreshments, and warm clothing recommended if you plan to stay.

Please note that clause 7 of the Society’s constitution reads: “the Society will exercise due care when arranging its meetings and activities for the benefit of members.  Members taking part in any meeting or activity do so at their own risk.”