The Residents

Our garden is thriving with wildlife and they are a priority in everything we do.  We hold wildlife classes and groups teaching people about the local wildlife and how to protect and preserve it.  Below are just some of the beautiful creatures we have as regular visitors.

Dragonflies

We have dragonflies nesting on our pond each year, this year I have spotted red veined darter dragonflies. This species is different from others and its suspected that it will not be a species that survives long. This Red Dragonfly is referred as a territorial species, in which the male dragonfly is often seen resting on a perch. After mating, the male and the female dragonfly fly in tandem for laying eggs. As the time approaches for laying eggs, the female dragonfly is seen dipping her abdomen in the water to release the eggs. Like other insects, the dragonflies do not attain the pupa stage, instead they directly transform from the larvae stage to an adult Red Dragonfly. This species has more than one generation developing in a year, because the egg and the larval development take less than a period of 3 months. The speed of an adult Red Dragonfly may be about 56 km per hour.

We also have Emperor dragonflies.

Heron

We have a Heron on our river.  Herons grow to be around 100cm tall and eat fish and small birds.  They weigh around 2kg and there are around 13,000 nests in the UK.  In ancient times Herons were regarded as the 'Creator of Light', a symbol of prosperity in Egypt and in Africa it was thought that they communicate with the Gods.  Native Americans see them as symbols of wisdom with their inquisitive nature, determination and good judgement.

Great Crested Newts

Great crested newts are protected by law, as are their eggs and resting places.  They are the largest newt species growing to around 15cm long.  They are dark brown with white spots, almost black in appearance.  There are thought to be around 18,000 breeding sites in the UK but are rare here in the South.  The ancients associated these creatures with the element of fire symbolising triumph over adversity, adaptability, balance, change and growth.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Often seen trying to cling to tree trunks and hide from observers these birds leave beautiful feathers in their trail, black with white spots!  They grow to around 23cm and there are around 14,000 pairs in the UK.  There are only two species of black and white spotted woodpecker in the UK.  The ancients connected the woodpecker to the God Mars, who was worshipped widely.

Water Vole

By the end of the 1990's the water vole population had decreased by more than 90%. Sometimes cheeky enough to venture into our riverside meditation circles the water vole is the largest species of vole, often mistaken for a rat and is super cute! Water voles eat around 8% of their body weight each day and have been known to eat around 220 different types of plant.

Otter

The otter saw a decline in the 1950's and 60's due to pesticide use but are slowly rising in numbers again. Otters grow to around 80cm and weigh between 5 and 8 kg depending on their age and size.Feeding mainly on eels and salmonids otters have webbed feet and fur and underground burrows near rivers.The otter features in an ancient shamanic Welsh tale. The sorceress Ceridwen left young Gwion to guard her cauldron, but he tasted the draught by accident and gained knowledge of all things. He transformed into a hare to escape her wrath, but she pursued him as a hound. When he plunged into the river as a salmon, Ceridwen became an otter to continue her pursuit. Gwion was eventually reborn as the great bard, Taliesin.