The latest news from Hartlebury Common Local Group

A butterfly expedition to Bolivia by some of our group members last autumn sounded exciting and exotic. I was quite eager to learn of its success – especially as, after they had arrived, the television news showed widespread political protests in Bolivia’s major cities. The country’s President Morales needed to seek refuge in Mexico! This April, to be presented by local farmer and lepidopterist, Mike Southall, our group’s talk was to be about Bolivia’s moths and butterflies. Obviously ‘not to be’ at the moment (like so many myriad of events across the country and worldwide), we will, hopefully, pick up where we left off in the not too distant future.

As pubs and restaurants were beginning to close in mid-March, we thought that the conservation work parties and litter-picking events on Hartlebury Common might be able to continue. However, the Coronavirus Lock-down tightened and all activity there has had to stop. The Common is still available for personal exercise and dog-walking, of course, whilst keeping within the guidelines and personal distancing rules. I know that some of our more local members are doing this and keeping an eye on the wildlife at the same time.
My preference is to be in the countryside at the quietest times, anyway! So some ‘inspiration’ came from a well-known politician (remaining nameless, of course) who said that he’d started to get up at 5.45 am for an hour long walk in the countryside. So I tried it! As I opened the car door, I was greeted by the loud sound of a greater spotted woodpecker on a nearby oak tree! A little later, thinking I could see a dog’s legs beneath some gorse branches, I prepared to swerve away from the owner, but instead saw that it was a fox which quickly moved away. Yes, the orange sunrise, the songbirds’ dawn chorus and even the cover of white crystals from a cold early morning frost make our local countryside and especially Hartlebury Common an uplifting (and healthy) experience.

Please note that up to the end of June, all of our indoor meetings and events on the Common are cancelled or postponed. Later events planned for the summer are, of course, dependent on the circumstances and restrictions applicable at that time. In the meantime, there is a lot of information on our website at and on our Facebook page

We hope that everyone keeps safe and has the best of health at this difficult time.

Michael Howard