It’s starling murmuration season again (this runs from late autumn through the winter). The occurs as the local populations of starlings are boosted by their European cousins arriving to escape the harsh Scandinavian winter. A starling murmuration is an amazing sight, with huge flocks forning into an amazing acrobatic mass before roosting.
There have been huge gatherings of starlings over the lakes of the Cotswold Water Park over the last few days, with flocks in excess of 50,000 being reported. Amazing!
The hare has a special place in the history of Cirencester. In 1971, a mosaic bearing a hare was found close to the River Churn and is now the symbol of the Corinium Museum where the mosaic is now housed. Last year, the summer Cirencester was invaded by 50 giant hares which had been decorated by artists and celebrities. The Hare Festival has just returned to Cirencester with 30 small hares hidden around Cirencester. Visitors can pick up a ‘Hare Passport’ from the Tourist Information Centre at Corinium Museum and then each time they spot a hare they can note down it’s name and have their passport stamped. Each of the hares is decoraed in a unique style.
The one pictured, ‘Hare’s Wally’ can be round in ‘Gift’ in Cirencester. Photo via their facebook page.
We had the hard job of test driving the new barbecue at Daisy Chain over the weekend – it was tough, but somebody had to do it! It did a great job, happily feeding 11 hungry mouths, and producing the best chicken and vegetable kebabs ever! While waiting for the food to cook you can sit on the lakeside, or go for a quick paddle in the Canadian Canoe…you just need to remember to come back before the food all disappears! We’ve also fitted an additional fridge, so there’s plenty of space for your meat, salad…and a few drinks too…
Two weeks ago when we visited Clattinger Farm, a fabulous lowland meadow of international importance for its hay meadow wildflowers, it was filled with cowslips and snakeshead fritillaries. We looked for orchids and there were just a small handful – in the sort of numbers that you would expect to find in usual places where orchids grow. We returned to the field this weekend and it is now overflowing with orchids in spectacular numbers – such a rare and beautiful sight. They will continue to flower during May and into June.
Clattinger Farm is the next farm to the Lower Mill Estate and well worth a visit during your Cotswold Family Holiday.
Nightingales are secretive birds which often hide in the middle of thick hedgerows. They arrive in April and sing until late May / early June. Once they have bred they return to north Africa between July and September.
Birdland Park and Gardens are a great location for a family day out in the Cotswolds in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Birdland is set in 9 acres of gardens and woodland and is home to a range of exotic and rare birds including flamingos, pelicans, cranes, storks, parrots, owls and penguins. One of Birdland’s most popular species is their Humboldt Penguins which greeted the arrival of spring by beginning to lay eggs. Humboldts incubate their eggs for about 40 days so new arrivals should be on the way in May. Birdland is also home to England’s only collection of King Penguins and a king penguin chick is currently very popular with visitors.
When planning your visit it is well worth planning to be there for the penguin feeding display (11am and 2:30pm) and the Flamingo Feed (11:30am) At 12:15am there is a chance to ‘Meet the Keeper’ and ask questions you may have about the birds. These sessions are great opportunities to find out more about the species. A recent reviewer on Trip advisor wrote, “Lots of birds to see, very well done. Make sure you go at a time coinciding with the Penguin’s feeding time, which is a joy to see and very educational.”
For more information about Birdland and to check opening times before a visit: http://www.birdland.co.uk/
The Lower Mill Estate architecture is an attractive mix of contemporary styles which set against their lakeside location produces spectacular views. If you look carefully you will see the faint presence of a rainbow in this photo which was taken at the weekend.
Over the next few weeks there are some 5* Bores coming up….ok – so that could be read more than one way. Let me explain! The Severn Bore is far from boring – in fact it is quite amazing! The bore is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the second highest in the world – as much as 15 metres. For a bore to occur you need the river estuary and the tidal conditions to be just right. The Severn Estuary is shaped in such a way that the water is funnelled into an increasingly narrow channel as the tide rises, which leads to the formation of a large wave. The river follows a course past Avonmouth where it is approximately 5 miles wide, then past Beachley and Aust, then Lydney and Sharpness where it is approximately 1 mile wide. Ever narrowing, by the time the river reaches Minsterworth it is less than a hundred yards across. As well as the width decreasing rapidly, the depth of the river also changes rapidly and so a funnel shape is formed. The incoming tide travels up the estuary, being funnelled up an ever decreasing channel, so forming a surge wave – a bore.
Surfing the bore has become quite a sport with dozens of surfers competing to record the longest ride. Distance records have been broken on numerous occasions with the Guinness World Record holder, Steve King, recording a ride of 9.25 miles! With the bore reaching speeds of approx 10mph that’s quite a long ride! Canoeists and windsurfers also love to take a ride on the bore. The huge difference between surfing the bore and surfing at sea is that if you miss the bore you’ve got a long time to wait until the next one…ohhh…and don’t forget to have someone ready to meet you at the other end. It’s a walk back to the car with a board!
For great information about where and when to see the bore visit http://buff.ly/15Qhc1O The weekend of 20th February at the end of half term is due for two top rated 5* bores.
10 years ago a complete skull of a woolly mammoth was found in a working gravel pit in Cotswold Water Park. Dr Hollingworth, a paleontologist, had visited the site to look for the remains of Ice Age mammals after discovering a bone fragment. As he walked across the gravel pit he saw a bit of bone sticking out. After a few minutes of concentrated digging he realised that he had found a complete skull. It took seven hours to carefully dig out and then four people to carry it. The skull is believed to have come from a female woolly mammoth who lived over 50,000 years ago. She would have weighed 3.5 tons and been 10 feet tall. Like all mammoths she would have travelled and lived in a group in cold dry grasslands and would have been an excellent swimmer. She would have eaten at least 400 pounds of vegetation every day! Woolly mammoths grew new sets of teeth as the old ones wore down, so during her life she would have had six sets of teeth. The skull is on display at the Gateway Visitor Centre at the entrance to Cotswold Water Park.
One of the main reasons that our guests book a holiday at Daisy Chain is for a family celebration. This year Daisy Chain has hosted 21st, 35th, 40th, 60th birthday celebrations as well as Wedding Anniversaries. Sleeping 9 in 5 bedrooms there is lots of flexibility for different ages. This review from some 2014 guests sums up their experience well: “We stayed at Daisy Chain for my Dad’s 60th birthday. There was a mix of age groups and interests, and the property met each of our needs. It was clean, modern, spacious and the views over the lake were simply stunning. The owners had obviously gone to great lengths to ensure that our stay was as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. They were also always quick to reply to any queries I had leading up to our getaway and it was reassuring to know they were only ever a phone call away during our long weekend (not that we had any issues). The Lower Mill Estate onsite spa was of course an added bonus and a great contingency plan for those rainy days. Just a two minute walk from Daisy Chain, it was fantastic to be able to go swimming or visit the sauna whenever we liked. If you’re looking for a place to stay with a group of friends or family, young and old, somewhere to get away from it all to enjoy each other’s company, Daisy Chain is the perfect retreat. We’ll definitely be returning!