Samhain adventures this half term

At Samhain it’s believed the veil between the worlds is very thin, it was a time for communication with the ancestors and the spirits of the dead. Spare places were laid at the table during the Samhain feast so that the ancestors could once again join with family and friends.

Others could also slip through this gap in space-time – the faerie, hobgoblins, elves and other mischief makers – this is the root of Halloweens mischief night and our trick or treat tradition.

Bonfires known as ‘Samhnagan’ were lit on hilltops, often the burial grounds of a communities past, with all other fires in the community put out and rekindled from the Samhnagan fire.

samhain-adventures

Although our Samhain festival may now be sold out there is lot’s more to do at Butser to connect with this special time of year. This half term we are open from Monday to Friday (22-26th October). Each day we’ll have storytelling, a Batty trail following Pippi the Bat around the farm as she learns about ancient beliefs, hands on talks. demonstrations and more. Please see below for a breakdown of what’s happening each day;

Monday 22nd October –

  • Batty trail – follow the adventures of Pippi the Bat
  • Handling session – Samhain, skeletons and all that spooky stuff! 11am
  • Ancient storytelling at 11.30am and 2pm

Tuesday 23rd October

  • Batty trail – follow the adventures of Pippi the Bat
  • Handling session – Samhain, skeletons and all that spooky stuff! 11am
  • Ancient Storytelling at 11.30am and 2pm
  • Make your own pinecone bat to take home at 1pm – 3pm
  • Flintknapping demonstrations

Wednesday 24th October

  • Batty trail – follow the adventures of Pippi the Bat
  • Handling session – Samhain, skeletons and all that spooky stuff! 11am
  • Spooky storytelling with Fayes Fables – an interactive performance in our roundhouse following the next adventures of Fairy Big Toe from local theatre company Fayes Fables.
  • Flintknapping demonstrations

Thursday 25th October

  • Batty trail – follow the adventures of Pippi the Bat
  • Handling session – Samhain, skeletons and all that spooky stuff! 11am
  • Ancient Storytelling at 11.30am and 2pm

Friday 26th October

  • Batty trail – follow the adventures of Pippi the Bat
  • Handling session – Samhain, skeletons and all that spooky stuff! 11am
  • Ancient Storytelling at 11.30am and 2pm
  • Chalk carving – carve a spooky ghost to take home from 1pm – 3pm
  • **Evening event**  Museums at Night – After-dark Tour 7pm – 9pm (must be prebooked)

museums-at-nightwith-logosmall

There’ll also be much more going on each day on the farm, from the build of our new Saxon hall, flintknapping, milking the goats and more! We hope to see you there!

Eco for life at Butser

Looking out for the archaeology of the future….

Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges that we face today, when we think about what the archaeology of the future will look like, plastic waste will be one of the main things left behind by us for future generations.

A plastic bottle will take over 450 years to decompose and some scientists think that some plastic will never fully decompose. This is particularly worrying as it is estimated globally an astonishing one million bottles are bought every minute. The UK alone purchase 38.5m plastic bottles each day, accounting for around 40% of litter by volume found in our environment.

Continue reading

Warrior Camps

Over the summer we, once again, ran a series of Warrior Camps at the farm and are pleased to announce that the new recruits passed their warrior training with flying colours!!

Each day involved a  series of outdoor adventures at the farm, inspired by the old; making and cooking over a fire, building a raft, hunting for clues,  constructing a shelter and much more!

Our Warrior Camp 1 was aimed at children aged 8-14 and our more advanced Warrior Camp  2, for those aged 10 – 14, involved a chance to stay overnight at the farm! All under the expert tutorage of Keith Page MBE and David Norris.

We’ll be running Warrior Camps again next year but in the meantime take a look at the photos below for a taste of the adventures!

Wildlife Watch – The Striped Lychnis moth at Butser

Over the years Butser Ancient farm has become a site of great environmental importance. Situated amongst forests and fields, with our ancient farming methods and wild hedgerows we have attracted various wildlife and rare species.

One of these rare species being the Striped Lychnis moth which has increased in number greatly over the past few years in particular due to our Dark Mullein, a tall wild flowering perennial plant, with yellow flowers and purple stamen.

Dark Mullein Flowers

Dark Mullein Flowers

The striking caterpillars feed on the yellow flowers and can be found throughout July and August.  The fully grown larvae crawl off and find a safe place to pupate in the ground nearby and emerge the following spring.

7 Striped Lychnis larvae were found at Butser Ancient Farm in 2017 and there were 78 in July 2018 so let’s see if we can keep this upward trend going!

Striped Lychnis Moth caterpillar

Striped Lychnis Moth caterpillar

If you have a passion for wildlife and want to encourage Striped Lychid moths into your garden follow these tips!

  1. Do not cut Dark Mullein plants between May and September.
  2. Leave unmanaged areas for wild flowers to flourish
  3. Disturb the soil periodically or cut areas in the winter to stop them getting overgrown.
  4. Shake seed out from the old flowers in the autumn or winter.

If you live locally to the site you could collect seed with permission and grow it in your garden, visit the Butterfly Conservation website  or contact Fiona at Butterfly Conservation for more advice;  fhaynes@butterfly-conservation.org

Mosaic project update!

Week 8  of the Butser Sparsholt Mosaic project – an update from projects coordinator Trevor Creighton.

mde

We are two months into the Butser Mosaic project and everything is going well and gathering pace. As we move into week 9 we should have ‘squared the circle’ by completing the decorative corner patterns around our central, circular designs. These four…. let’s call them ‘corner pieces’ (although, as they are around a circle, that’s a bit dodgy)…. consist of two separate ‘motifs’. One we’ll call a lotus and the other a scallop shell. Continue reading