ARH20120512-1423-A55-102583 (resized)

The newly built bug hotel at the Gill Nethercott Centre

There’s a new place to bed down in Whitchurch…if you’re a bug!

Several local children built a bug hotel in the garden of the Gill Nethercott Centre on 12 May 2012 as part of the Tales from the Riverbank event. They were ably directed in their construction project by Sophie Curtis of the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust.

Earlier, inside the Centre, several locals gave presentations about the wildlife found around us, here in the Test valley. Children had a craft table where they could create their own cardboard creatures!


The locally filmed movie from 1981 ‘Kingfisher: Secret Splendour of the Brooks‘ by the late Ron Eastman of Town Mill was screened to a captivated audience – some of whom likely ‘tweeted‘ about it later! His earlier film, from 1966, Look: The Private Life of the Kingfisher, was the first wildlife film shown in colour on the BBC (in 1967).

The audience prickled with excitement when Charmian Greenland-Jones of HART Wildlife Rescue let their rare albino hedgehog loose during her presentation. Charmain emphasised the importance of leaving any baby rabbits seen sitting alone – they are naturally left out by their parents during the day.


The children who had come along were buzzing with questions for local bee keeper Mike Barrie when he told them how much honey bees make – and how much they eat! Alas, the wet April has meant that bees have had it pretty difficult this year so far.

Alex Cruickshank from the Hants and IOW Wildlife Trust filled up a fishtank from the creek flowing under the Centre and pointed out all the tiny creatures found in it, to the amazement of those peering in.

The fine skill of weaving Guernsey baskets was demonstrated by Claire Gaudion – they are perfect for carrying the shopping, and can be custom-made to fit bicycles!

Information about the multitude of fauna on the Millennium Meadow, and the upcoming picnic, was also on display.

Meanwhile, outside of the Silk Mill, there was excitement to be had watching the swan take care of her newly born cygnets.

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