Birdwatching at Beauchief
Visitors to the Club immediately become aware of the historical setting. From the Abbey at the bottom of the drive to the Hall and buildings at the top, a story is told going back over many centuries. Similarly, the beauty of the fields, the woods, the ponds and the horticulture make an instant impression on the eye.
But there is more. What about the inhabitants of the woods, the gardens, the ponds and the fields? Some of you may have noticed them: magpies on the lawns; woodpigeons tumbling in and out of the trees; moorhens pecking round the ponds; swallows scything across the cricket field. But did you know they were called magpies, woodpigeons, moorhens and swallows? And what’s going on over the walls? Do you ever bother to take a look in the woods?
Andy Capps does and he has developed a checklist (attached) which you can download and take with you as you walk round the grounds or venture into the woods, something to fill as you go (or maybe afterwards, as you wish) then return to him at email@example.com or drop a hard copy through the clubhouse letter box. We can use the data to build up a picture of bird activity at Beauchief, something that might one day contribute to an ecological appraisal of the area, or even to national statistics. You, meanwhile, can become an ornithologist. If you need help identifying the birds you could start with this RSPB Guide
There’s a lovely circular walk in the woods round the Hall. It’s set out in the attached map, part of the Council’s conservation plan for the area ( Beauchief Hall Conservation Area ). You can start at the Club and walk down the lane, or at the layby at the top edge of the golf course and join the path there (it forms part of the Round Walk) making sure you hug the boundary of the grounds. It takes much less than an hour and pops up into the grounds on a long bend bordering Abbeydale Golf Club, or you can cross the golf club on an official footpath it if you prefer.
Take some binoculars, take your time and tell us what you saw.