Castor Hanglands

The nature reserve at Castor Hanglands, two miles south of Helpston, was established in 1953. The reserve comprises 220 acres of grassland, scrub, ponds and woodland.

The area is thought to have been woodland for over a thousand years. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book – the name ‘hangra’ is old English for a wood on a hill. The woods later became part of the Medieval hunting forest of Nassaburgh.

The Hanglands are a wonderful place in high summer with many butterflies, including purple and black hairstreak and white admiral. All three species of British newt and eighteen species of dragonfly have been recorded and the heath boasts a profusion of wild flowers including marsh orchid in the wetland areas and rock rose, harebell, yellow (or hay) rattle and ox eye daisy on the heath.

At dusk the song of the nightingale resounds across the heath and grasshopper warblers reel away in the newly planted woodland to the east of the reserve. This is a local stronghold too of the cuckooIf you click on all three links you can hear a typical Hanglands evening chorus.

The cuckoo like a hawk in flight
With narrow pointed wings
Wews oer our heads – soon out of sight
And as she flies she sings

To reach the Hanglands travel south out of Helpston along Heath Road for one mile and straight on at the cross roads. You can park on the right either two hundred yards past the cross roads and walk up to the reserve along the track heading west or at the larger lay by, another 300 yards further south. Car crime is a problem in this area, so take care to leave nothing on display.

Click the name of the bird to hear its call.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carole sims December 30, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Please can someone inform me who painted the lovely picture on the right and if I can purchase a print
Thanks a lot

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Roy Hinchliff December 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Hi Carole, the pictures which illustrate most of the pages related to local wildlife are by the esteemed artist Carry Akroyd, whose work also regularly graces the pages of “The Oldie”. She is president of the John Clare Society and if you wish to see more of her work she has a website of her own, carryakroyd.co.uk. She will doubtless be at the next John Clare Festival. Anna Kinneard at Annakin Art Shop, Helpston, may be able to supply the print you are seeking. Give her a call.
Regards
Roy Hinchliff

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