Butser Autumn Update

It’s been a little quiet on our blog recently but we’ve certainly been busy on the farm with lots of events, school groups, animals and exciting archaeological projects keeping us all on our toes.

We’re now well into planning for 2020 but wanted to catch you up on some of the things that have been going on this autumn and share a few photos of the farm full of beautiful autumnal colour!

Super Schools – Autumn term is always one of our busiest periods for school visits as new teachers and pupils delve into the ancient past in their history curriculum. We love welcoming school groups to the farm to get hands on with some ancient skills and explore our reconstructed buildings. Over the winter we will be looking to expand our schools offering with possible exclusive overnight stays in a roundhouse … watch this space!

Exciting events – As the nights draw in our Great Roundhouse is the perfect venue for an evening of storytelling and entertainment gathered around the fire. At the end of October we celebrated the Celtic Festival of Samhain with music and storytelling from Jonathon Huet of Walk With Trees, earlier in the month we welcomed storyteller Jason Buck and archaeologist and broadcaster Mary Ann-Ochota for Viking Magic Hidden Gold, an evening of storytelling inspired by real archaeological artefacts and the secrets they reveal. September saw the Vikings attacking to claim our Saxon Hall for themselves, luckily the brave Saxons of Herigeas Hundas successfully defended the hall but we have a feeling they may be back for more next year!

There are only a few tickets remaining for our upcoming winter storytelling events; Tales of Winter Magic and the Holly King – visit our events page for more details.

Star turns – This year Butser has been on the big screen both in Horrible Histories the Movie: Rotten Romans and in Britannia, the Sky Series that is currently showing on TV. We have also welcomed various documentary film crews and student productions in recent months and look forward to seeing them broadcast in the future. We love seeing our buildings and animals taking on a starring role in a range of documentaries and dramas-  more exciting productions are in the pipeline so stay tuned!

Building projects – All the roof trusses on our Saxon house are now complete with the last two trusses just waiting to be erected. Treewright Darren and the team are busy making oak plank boarding for the walls of the building and it is really starting to take shape. Meanwhile we have been rethatching another of our smaller Roundhouses, repainting another Roundhouse and are about to commence the renovation and redesign of our large Stone Age house. The Daub has been stripped from the Llandygai Longhouse and next week we take delivery of some beautiful Scots Pine for the renewed framework.

New collaborations – Our Stone Age House project is part of an exciting collaboration with Wessex Archaeology, the largest commercial archaeological unit in the country, they will be both a part of the planning and building process and we are thrilled to be working with such a lovely bunch! Talking of lovely people this year we have joined into an ongoing research partnership with UCL Institute of Archaeology. We will be working closely together on a range of research projects and also hosting their annual experimental archaeology course. This took place at Butser for the first time at the end of September when over 100 academics and students descended on the farm for five days of experimental archaeology. It was a real pleasure having them on site and we are very excited to see what the future of this partnership brings.

Amazing animals – This year has been a great year for wildlife on the farm. Joining our sheep, goats and pigs we’ve seen owls, bats, red kites, kestrels, foxes, deer and even seem to now have a resident hare! In recent weeks we have been hearing the stags rutting in the surrounding woodland which has been a wonderfully evocative autumnal sound.

There is lots we’ve missed but we hope that gives an overview of just some of the recent excitement at the farm! We’ll end with some beautiful pictures taken this morning of the farm in all its autumnal glory!



Butser Wildlife Watch July 2019

We’ve been keeping track of the wonderful wildlife we see here at Butser as the seasons change. Here is our July update written by team member Victoria Melluish on what we’ve witnessed this month!

Return of the Lychnis Moth

July has brought us colour and vibrancy amongst the flora and fauna not to mention the beautiful yellow flower named Dark Mullein which is a vital food source for the rare Lychnis Moth. Upon exploring the farms Dark Mullein to find the elusive caterpillar with butterfly conservationist Fiona Haynes we finally came across a tiny little Lynchis caterpillar! Success!

Lychnis caterpillar2.jpg

Initially there was a worry to whether they had flourished this year as they were nowhere to be seen in the beginning of July, it seems that they have decided to come out later in the month, the phrase “better late than never” has never been so appropriate!

Alongside the unique little caterpillars we also have another rare find that has been discovered on the farm for the first time, weevils! Specifically one that also likes Dark Mullein. We are hoping to learn more about them and see what we can do to make their home a little more comfortable on the farm with their friend the Lychnis caterpillar.

Two proud English Goats

Sunday the 14th of July was a marvellous day for the Weald and Downland Rare and Traditional breeds show! Rare and traditional sheep, cows, pigs, horses, poultry, rabbits, Guinea pigs and of course goats were brought from all over the country for the show.

Our team brought along two of our English goats to join in with the fun, and did exceptionally well! Sorrel our 3 year old ash white and black striped lady won 1st place in the Female Kidded category and Branwyn our fawn coloured goatling, won 2nd place in the goatling class!

They celebrated their little victories by chomping on hazel branches and getting lots of attention and affection from visitors. We are very much looking forward to next year when we will hope to bring some kids with us!

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