The Kestrel

The Book of St Albans[1] – a 15th century document on hawking, hunting and heraldry – ranks hawks and falcons into their suitability for particular social ranks. At the top, it states that an Eagle is fit only for an Emperor. At the bottom of the list, we find that the Kestrel is fit for […]


The Secret Life of the Dunnock

Not the most exciting name for a bird is it: ‘Dunnock’?  Today, birds like this are called LBJs; ‘little brown jobs’. The Dunnock been considered as such for many centuries, for its name derives from the Od English for ‘little brown’. The Dunnock’s scientific name is Prunella modularis. Again, ‘Prunella’ refers to its brown plumage. Like […]


Weird and Wonderful Lichen

Walk around the grounds of St Andrew’s Church in Bredfield and what nature do you see: trees and grass; a bee buzzing past; a bird perched in a tree?  Anything else?  Look closer at the headstones, especially the old ones.  Examine the branches of some of the older trees?  Something else is there. Indeed, it’s […]



This feature article is about a common plant that can be found in shady areas of woodland, hedgerows and perhaps a corner of your garden.  It is a member of the Arum family (Arum maculatum), and goes by many names, with ‘Lords-and-Ladies’ or ‘Cuckoopint’ probably the two most familiar. When it emerges in early Spring, […]


We need to talk about Box

In recent decades, Box (Buxus) has become a popular tree for garden hedges: widely available, relatively cheap, easy to trim and shape, and apparently carefree to grow. So popular did it become, it was imported by the ton from South Asia. However, accompanying the imported trees were the larvae of an admittedly attractive moth: the […]

European Mole (Talpa europaea), Schwaz, Tyrol, Austria, Europe

Moles and molehills – a plea for tolerance

A few Parish Councils still employ mole killers in an attempt to keep their village greens or other green swards free of ‘unsightly’ molehills.  Is this acceptable?  Is it even effective?  Let’s examine the issue: in general, but also with a focus on Bredfield. There are six good reasons to stop trapping and killing moles. […]

Common Lungwort

The Wonder of Flower Names

Introduction On a summer’s day walk around Bredfield Jubilee Meadow and Orchard, or elsewhere, you will find wildflowers with interesting names: Selfheal, Fleabane and St John’s Wort to name only a few. Where do these names come from? What meaning do they have? In this feature article we will trace the origin of the names of some of […]


Bredfield’s Dark Skies

Those who move residence from a town to the village of Bredfield are immediately struck by one thing after their first day of settling-in: “Gosh, isn’t it dark at night here!”  Some people like it immediately, others find the dark streets disconcerting; but most come around to appreciating Bredfield’s dark night skies. Though street lighting […]


Focus on Snowdrops

A harbinger of Spring!  Everyone knows the Snowdrop; everyone loves the Snowdrop. It’s not your Marmite kind of flower. What is perhaps less well-known is that bees and other insects love Snowdrops too. Lovely and wildlife-friendly – what’s not to like? Let’s have closer look at Snowdrops. Snowdrops usually appear in January or February; though, with global warming, they […]