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the discovery centre at thatcham

Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre

What To Know Before Visiting Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre Ever since Henry went to the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre (located near Newbury, Berkshire) on a school trip he has been nagging me to take him back for a repeat visit. I would love to say it was because he wanted to see and learn more about minibeasts […]

lobster pot mussels

The Lobster Pot

Marine Invertebrates at The Lobster Pot Landlocked? Landlubbers?  You can still learn about marine mini-beasts at your local fishmonger! We’ve looked a crafty cuttlefish in the eye and tickled a squid’s tentacles.  We’re into so much more than butterflies, bees and spiders here at  There are thousands of species of marine invertebrates which are every bit as cool and sometimes […]

smiley face spider

Spooky spiders

These Spiders Are Watching You… There’s a spider in the southern United States called the Smiley-face Spider because of the funny markings on its back. Henry thinks it looks more like a spooky mask than a smiley face so we thought we’d feature it for Halloween.  It’s quite a pretty little thing and harmless enough […]

Deaths head hawkmoth

Halloween Insects

Death’s Head Hawkmoth It’s Halloween, so what better insect to talk about that the spooky sounding Death’s Head Hawkmoth?   It gets its name from the skull-shaped mark behind its head – like in this picture by Trevor Hartsell In fact, there are 3 types of Death’s Head Hawkmoth and you may be lucky enough to […]

how to catch a spider

Spider Catcher

How to Catch a Spider Unless you suffer from a particular sensitivity, most native species of British spider are virtually harmless. So at this time of year, when you’re more likely than not to find them coming into your home, don’t be afraid to give them a helping hand back outside.  The kindest eviction method is a jar […]

honey ant
Crafts for Kids

Make a Dot Painting

Honey Ant Dreaming   Our school holiday art project is to make our own Aboriginal dot painting just like the real ones we saw being painted at the Mindil Beach Markets in Darwin. We’ve based our painting on an artwork called “Honey Ant Dreaming” which was painted in Central Australia and represents honey ants in […]

Henry with Mark O'Donnell from BBC Wiltshire

BBC Wiltshire

Buzzing at the BBC Interview Transcription [Mark O’Donnell BBC] You may remember, last week, we were talking about a new shop, a new PopUp shop that’s opened up in Chippenham Emery Gate, the shopping centre there. It’s going to sell, locally sourced goods and provide employment for local young people as well. We were LIVE there, […]

red admiral butterfly

Butterfly beauty

A rubbish photo of a gorgeous butterfly! The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is one of the UK’s most colourful and easily recognised butterflies.  It has very distinctive wing markings – brown, red, and black with orange bands and white spots.  A bit like how the robin-red-breast is especially noticeable in winter because of its cheery colour in drab times and because it is one of the […]


Up close and personal

There were some great photos of spiders and insects in the Telegraph this week.  Henry and Catherine were delighted to see other people taking such an interest in mini-beasts – and taking some beautiful photos too!  You can check them out here.  Enjoy!

European Garden Spider

Crosses and diadems – more spiders!

We found a lovely specimen of an Araneus diadematus or European Garden Spider – unfortunately we found it in Henry’s bedroom so he wasn’t too pleased! We caught it in a glass and slid a card under it. This frightened it, so it curled its legs up and played dead. In fact it stayed like […]