Death Head Hawkmoths Donated by Bournemouth Natural Science Society, these wonderful creatures started off as very hungry caterpillars and after a big transformation, have emerged as adult Death Head Hawkmoths. They have a human skull-shaped pattern of markings on the thorax and are the fastest moth in the world, flying at speeds of up to 30 mph! The Rangers at Avon Heath need to feed the moths by hand with honey water ever couple of days. When you're next at Avon Heath come and see the Rangers for a closer look.
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Bumper Dormouse Season! Hazel dormice used to be widespread in Britain, but have declined in both population and range over the past 100 years, with a population decline of 51% since 2000. Dormice prefer the new growth of woody vegetation that arises after woodland management. At Thorncombe Wood, we manage our patch of hazel woodland with a traditional coppice rotation. We are delighted to announce the discovery of two separate litters of six juvenile Dormice, found in two areas of new growth coppice, by licenced surveyors. The careful management of the woodland and hard work put in by the rangers and volunteers is proving beneficial to our resident Dormouse population.
Volunteers return to East Dorset After a summer like we’ve never experienced before, it was great to be able to welcome back some of our regular volunteers to the Rights of Way network and Avon Heath Country Park. In line with Government Guidance, we have restrictions in place such as smaller numbers at each task, but it seems to be working and proving popular. Dorset's abundance of footpaths, bridleways and open space have been appreciated more than ever since the Pandemic began, with people spending more time out and about. We are so grateful to our volunteers for helping with the maintenance of our sites and paths - they are invaluable! Fancy coming to help out? Call Kate Martin 01425 478082 to find out more.
'Dorset Wild Seas' Exhibition and Kids' Trail A new exhibition at Durlston Castle’s Fine Foundation Gallery explores the underwater wildlife, habitats and landscapes just off the Dorset coast. Dorset Wildlife Trust commissioned artist Antonia Phillips to produce drawings and paintings of this extraordinary secret landscape, while the exhibition also features artefacts and objects from beneath the waves. The exhibition runs daily from 24 October - 29 November and entry to the Castle and Gallery is free. Looking for something for the children to do this October half term? A special ‘Wild Seas’ kids trail will be running alongside the exhibition - £3 per child with a prize at the end. Photo: Basking Shark Portland Cliffs © DWT Antonia Phillips
Swart bats, whose wings be-webbed and tanned One animal we all associate with Halloween is the bat. At Thorncombe Wood, we have populations of both Pipistrelle species (smallest UK bats), Noctules (largest UK bats) and Natterers, who will now be breeding before going into hibernation. The poet, Thomas Hardy, who grew up wandering this woodland, writes about bats in his poems Domicilium and Musical Box (see title). There is no need to associate them with 31 October though as all our bat species eat insects! Photo © Ian Metcalfe
Earth Photo 2020 Earth Photo 2020 is coming soon to Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. The free outdoor exhibition developed jointly with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), aims to stimulate conversations about the world, its inhabitants and our treatment of both. See a stunning selection of the shortlisted images displayed within the beautiful landscape of Moors Valley between 24 October 2020 and 21 February 2021. Photo: Jacopo Pasotti, A Resilient Innovation 2.
Welcome to November's newsletter! With the pumpkins packed away for another year; poppies pinned to coats, hats and scarves; and attention beginning to turn towards the normal end of year festivities, in very non-normal circumstances; work continues at Dorset History Centre! Whilst this newsletter reaches you at the beginning of a second period of lockdown, we hope the content will provide some distraction from other events! In this edition we have: Updates about accessing Dorset History Centre How our Conservator repaired the music books of Thomas Hardy Ghost hunting at Athelhampton House Another unknown photograph we need your help with Updates from our social media From all of us at Dorset History Centre, we wish you well during this period.
This time, we have a country house for you that remains unidentified in our collections. If you have any thoughts about which house this was, please let us know.
Lockdown Information Following the latest government announcements, Dorset History Centre will be closed to the public from Thursday 5th November 2020 until further notice. Dorset History Centre staff will continue to respond to public enquiries. If you have an enquiry, please email us on: archives@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk. Please be aware, however, that processing enquiries may take longer than usual. Dorset Registration Service is remaining open, and you can contact the team on 01305 225153 or email registrars@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk Updates will be posted to our Twitter account (@DorsetArchives) and website, as and when circumstances change.
Repairing the Music Books of Thomas Hardy Amongst a collection of items belonging to Dorset County Museum, that were brought to the Dorset History Centre for conservation, were two music books. One belonged to Thomas Hardy’s father, and the other his grandfather (who were both also called Thomas). These books are fascinating examples of home-made bindings, with atypical sewing and making use of materials found around the house. In a recent blog, our Conservator explores how she has preserved these two valuable books...
A Dorset House and Its Ghosts… Athelhampton House, just outside Puddletown, dates from around 1485. Although much altered and expanded, the core of the house and the surrounding gardens have seen out the Tudors, Stuarts, the English Civil War and the changing fortunes of the landed gentry. Perhaps then it is unsurprising that Athelhampton has long been supposed to house a wide variety of non-corporeal residents...
Do You Know Where this Picture Is? In the last newsletter we offered you the above image of an unknown station and its workers, and asked for your help in identifying which station it may have been. A few eagle-eyed observers told us that this was the station at Bridport, with one person informing us that "It was taken during 1884 at the completion of the new down side platform at Bridport station. The locomotive in the view is No.1308. The photograph is shown on page 58 of "The Bridport Railway" by B.L. Jackson & M.J. Tattershall published by the Oakwood Press in 1998 which covers the entire history of the branch line."