We are commonly called the ‘Timsbury Nats’ and are a group of amateur wildlife watchers, based in and around Timsbury. We have members who come from Keynsham, Bristol, Bath, Midsomer Norton, High Littleton etc. We have been running since ?
We meet on the 3rd Monday of the month, from September through the winter until May, when we pause for the months of June, July & August.
We meet at The Conygre Hall at 7.30pm for a programme of Talks, Lectures, and includes coffee/teas and biscuits.
Cost of an evening is £3, or if you join the group for the year, it would be Family membership £15, Individual membership £12 and OAPs £10,
We always have an observations session at the start, when people give details of what wildlife they have seen over the last month. We record these sightings and Martin Hunt (our Hon Secretary) puts them into the monthly newsletter.
Every month we have an Outing, when those people who can visit places, like Ham Wall, Portland Bill, The Quantocks etc. The knowledge of some of our members is outstanding on Birds, Moths, Butterflies, Plants & Animals. We all learn so much from each other.
We are organised by a committee. Our Present Hon Chairman is Rod Bruce, who lives at Westfield and the rest of the committee is composed of an additional 8 members.
Come and join us anytime! You may have a question about Wildlife & Common Plants or Trees. Someone in the group will be able to answer your question or put you on the right track to find an answer.
Our logo is the Marbled White butterfly which is a quite rare species which is seen around Timsbury.
Introduction & Background by the Chairman August 2017
My name is Rod Bruce, I am currently in my 4th year serving as the 6th Chairman of The Timsbury Natural History Group. Though I live in Westfield I have been a Member of the Group for some 20 years. My Wife Barbara is the daughter of my Late Father-in-Law who was a Founder Member when the Group was formed 41 years ago. Cliff Dunster was well known in Timsbury mostly because of the walks that he and Howard Newth used to take making sure that local footpaths were kept open and that gates and stiles were in a safe usable condition. They even carried out some walk surveys at the request of Somerset County Council.
Back in 1976 John and Lynne Eley, then Timsbury Residents, put forward the idea for a Natural History Group. Thanks to their enthusiasm on 29th September that year the first meeting took place in the Conygre Hall (The venue for our Group Meetings ever since). Bob Bell from the Bristol Museum gave a talk on British Reptiles and Amphibians. The follow up Meeting on October 27th saw, or should I say heard, Graham Moysey of The Forestry Commission speaking about Forestry and Wildlife. Further early Meetings showed BBC and RSPB films.
Now, as then, as a Group we aim to provide an evenings entertainment by providing speakers to broaden our knowledge in a, mostly illustrated, informative way on topics of interest to Natural History lovers without being dictatorial or boring. We aim to keep members not shy them away. We have had Speakers on topics as diverse as Birds, Trees, Flowers, Animals, Amphibians, Butterflies and Moths, Forestry and Farm Husbandry, from lands as far away as Australia, the Arctic and recently the Antarctic, North and South America, Asia, Africa and many Countries in Europe. Whilst we have Meetings for 9 months of the year (avoiding the holiday months of June, July and August, we do have Field Trips throughout the year.
Field Trips usually occur on the Saturday following our Indoor Meetings. We have sights we regularly visit: Slimbridge of course, the Somerset Levels including West Hay, Shapwick and Ham Wall, Swell is another regular site to view the Heronry. When looking for Butterflies we travel to Martin Down near Salisbury or Collard Hill near Street. Recently we went to Blashford Lakes near Ringwood to the Hampshire Wildlife Trust Reserve, we have also crossed the Bridge into South Wales to the Forest of Dean RSPB Reserve at Nags Hill. Of late we have ventured on night soirees to Stock Hill and Priddy to hear AND SEE Nightjars and most recently to Westbury-sub-Mendip looking, successfully, for Glow Worms where we were briefly joined by Mike Dilger of the BBC Natural History Unit. This was a renewed acquaintance as it was Mike who spoke at our 40th Anniversary Celebration last September when we were pleased to welcome our Founders the Eleys who now live near Swindon.
Like most Clubs, we are run by a dedicated Committee of Volunteers. A Chairman though mostly I am only Front of House, A Secretary – our Workhorse who obtains our Speakers, organises our Field Trips and produces our Newsletter keeping our membership up to date with matters, A Press Secretary organising Display Posters and maintaining relevant contacts, a Treasurer looking after Finance and three other necessary super-numeries. Also, an independent Auditor Sheila Matthews who, with Husband Cyril were Founder Members.
We have a smallish membership but they are loyal, mostly they are ‘silvertops’ and we could do with more of the younger element. Having said that in October 2014 we had our youngest ever speaker 12 year old yes 12 year old Mya-Rose Craig who gave an illustrated talk about the remarkable 3500+ species of birds she has seen. Mya has her own Website where she is known as “Birdgirl” She paid a return visit to us last year. She has been on Radio Bristol, given an interview on TV in Bangladesh, whilst giving a talk in Birmingham Bill Oddy made a point of being in the audience unknown to Mya who has also had a meeting with Sir David Attenborough.
We exist on Membership Fees, income from in-house raffles and proceeds from two Calendars produced with Local Views in one format, produced by the Chairman, and the other with photographs taken, of Natural History topics, by our own Members. Speakers Fees and Raffle Prizes are our main outlay.
Our Meetings will recommence on Monday 18th September at 7.30pm when our Speaker wiil be an Insect Expert from Bristol Museum. His topic will be “Now you see me…..The changing status of insect populations around Bristol and Bath”. Why not come and join us? You would be very welcome.