Day 114 since Lockdown – the ‘Swift’ edition

SwiftDay 114 since Lockdown

On day 114 we get an update on the village’s Swift project.  In other news:


Installing Swift Boxes

This summer, villagers may have noticed an increase in the numbers of swifts wheeling about at speed, high up in the sky with their unmistakable scythe shaped wings and forked tail.

Thanks to funding received last year, we are now in the process of installing a total of 32 swift nest boxes at various sites around the village. As well as Orpen Hall and Heathlands School, eight private households are also taking part.

Despite the Coronavirus lockdown we have been able to move the project along in the last few weeks. This is mainly due to the incredible generosity of Ian Hodgson and Anne Hughes of IH Building Services, who have given their time and expertise for free to install the boxes on all manner of different homes!

Half Installed

Just over half the boxes have been installed and are available for swifts to come and investigate while they are still here for the next few weeks, before embarking on their migration back to South Africa some time in August. The rest of the boxes should be up by the end of this summer, in readiness for next year.

We know of at least one nest box which has been occupied by a pair of swifts already this summer. At the time of writing, the parent birds have been observed bringing food into the nest so the egg(s) must have hatched!

This is a wonderful conservation story for the village, and for Essex and beyond, as a lack of nest sites for swifts has been affecting their numbers significantly in recent years.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone in the village who has opened up their hearts to these amazing birds.

New playground equipmentPlaygrounds

Good news that work will be starting on the Erle Havard play park on 29th July; it will take approximately 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, new playground equipment works have now been completed at the Lorkin Daniell playground so that has now been reopened.  Please be aware that this equipment cannot be guaranteed to be COVID-19 free so all users are asked to follow the following guidance:

  • Maintain social distancing (ideally 2 metres, come back later if it seems too busy).
  • Only one family unit on an item at a time.
  • During busy times, 10mins max. time limit on each item.
  • If park is too busy, then come back later.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • No food and drink.

Parents and carers are recommended to:

  • Wipe down equipment with anti-bacterial wipes before use.
  • Provide hand sanitiser often, before, after & during use.
  • Wash hands before & after using the park for 20 seconds.
  • Be responsible for children’s behaviour to other users of the park.

Please, please, please take all your rubbish home with you.

Stay Alert - Control the Virus - Save Lives

Colchester Castle reopensAlso Reopening – Colchester Castle

Colchester Castle to reopen to visitors on July 23rd.  Those wishing to attend will need to call ahead and book a timed slot to visit going forward and visitors may be asked to queue before entry.  Marks will be in place and visitors are advised to ensure they adhere to social distancing rules.

There is a new one-way system in place inside the museum and hand-sanitiser stations are available along the route.  The castle shop is still offering gifts and souvenirs, but contactless payments are encouraged wherever possible.

Entry to the castle is available between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.  Call 01206 282939 or visit

The castle’s popular Escape Experience is also now available again for private groups of up to six people.

Saving Anksi & other things to doNew Activities on the Museums Site

We’ve reported on the Colchester & Ipswich Museums ‘Museum from Home’ program before – they have now added some more activities including:

  • Saving Anksi – What if the secret of our secure future lay in the forgotten past? A secret that only children knew about. It told the stories of a past world which became a wasteland.
  • Secret Messages, and
  • Write like a Roman.

A (Taylor) Swift Parody