Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.

 

Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.

 

Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!

 

Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.

 

Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/

It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.

 

Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.

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rudloescene

27th January 2020 saw a trip to Avalon Marshes in the hope of seeing the roosting of 500,000 starlings (according to the news board at RSPB Ham Wall). The title pictures show the lane between Ham Wall and Shapwick where the starlings were predicted to roost (as they did the day before), one of three Highland cattle which stood so still for minutes on end that we believed they were models and a view west across the marshes at dusk. While the picture of the lane appears (is!) quite uninspiring, there is more to it than meets the eye ... this is the trackbed of the old Central Somerset Railway which segued into the Highbridge branch of the Somerset & Dorset Railway. This line between Evercreech Junction and Highbridge closed to passengers in March 1966; the old Shapwick Station, of which the only remnant is a concrete post, lies about a mile distant.

Twixt the RSPB car park and the marshes, this little chap was unmoved by our attention. A robin (or robins) has been singing in our garden at night through to the early morning all winter long.
Looking north across Avalon Marshes with Glastonbury Canal in the foreground. The canal, opened in 1834, ran from Glastonbury to Highbridge where it entered the River Parrett and from there the Bristol Channel.
Silver birches, between Ham Wall and Shapwick, follow the line of the Glastonbury Canal and the old railway
A 'landscape' view of the Highland beast which, along with its mates, stood so still that we thought it was a model
Looking north, across Meare Heath where the reedbeds catch the last of the evening sun (after a dull day), to the ribbon of development along the B3151 which is the village of Meare
Looking south across a lake, one of many former peat excavations, adjacent to Shapwick Heath. According to RSPB information, Iberian water frogs can be heard croaking here.
Getting towards dusk (and roosting time) now. According to the RSPB pamphlet, in winter siskins and redpolls feed in the alder trees (shown here) which are abundant in the marshes
The starlings begin to arrive - these two murmerations from the west
The sound is like the wind as a larger murmuration passes overhead
The lower 'cloud' here, towards the east looking a bit like a whale, is actually a murmuration
More starlings arrive from the west
And yet more arrive from the west
And a ribbon of starlings flies in, again from the west until ...
... that whale-shaped cloud becomes significantly larger but ...
... more continue to arrive from the west
And so it goes on until ...
... the whale becomes a giant dickie bow
And still more are coming in from the west
Continuing to look west and it looks like they're all in but as we walked east we heard a sound which sounded like rushing water or some kind of running machinery. We were quite baffled by this ...
As we continued to walk east along the trackbed of the old railway, the sound became more intense until we realised that it was the sound of half-a-million starlings roosting in the reedbeds (behind us here)
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© Paul Turner