Nature Watch

Each season at the park brings its own delights. In the winter it may seem as though the park is sleeping but there is still plenty to see, including the famous Lydiard display of snowdrops (Galanthus) and the yellow flowers of the lesser celandine. Spring sees the blossom and bulbs; meanwhile the blackbirds and thrushes are claiming their territories and the grey squirrels indulge in their courtship chases! High summer is a particularly busy time in the glorious walled garden whilst autumn is vivid with berries and the leaves turning bronze and gold.

The park has a great wildlife diversity: Amongst a range of reptile and amphibian species there are newts, grass snake, common lizard, toads and frogs. Mammals that inhabit the park include foxes, badgers and deer whilst the lakes provide habitat for a variety of water fowl such as coot, moorhen, great crested grebe, tufted duck, mallard duck, Canada geese, little grebe, common tern, herring gulls and swans.

There are many other bird species in the woods including nuthatches, tree creepers, thrush and pied wagtails. You may hear the loud tap of the great spotted woodpecker and at dawn and dusk the call of the tawny owl. Whenever you visit, there is so much to explore.

Snowdrops

Each February the display of snowdrops at Lydiard Park is a spectacle that many people travel miles to see. The snowdrops cloak all the woods of the park and can also be seen down by the lake and in front of the stable buildings. Snowdrops are not native to the UK, although exactly when they were introduced is unclear. It’s thought they may have been grown as an ornamental garden plant as early as the 16th century, but were not recorded in the wild until the late 18th century. Many of the Lydiard snowdrops are the wild variety Galanthus Nivalis.

Before the 2nd World War the late Alice Smith remembered walking across the snowy fields with her classmates from Ferndale Junior School to pick snowdrops at Lydiard Park. Old Lady Bolingbroke would wave from the house and the children returned home with posies for their mothers – practically an 8 mile round trip!

Picking wild flowers is not permitted today, and that allows Lydiard’s lovely carpet of snowdrops to increase each year, giving pleasure to thousands of visitors.