Back to news

Alive in Milverton


On 19th November 20 people of all ages turned out on a squally Saturday morning to join Bristol-based BBC naturalist Chris Sperring for Alive in Milverton’s inaugural event, a Wildlife Walk and Talk around the village. They came from Milverton and its surrounding villages to discover what wildlife can be found in a village and importantly how best to help it thrive.

The walk started at Milverton Sawmill (by kind permission of Mr Phil Chambers) and visited the nearby roundabout verge, where the EuCAN Milverton Conservation volunteers had been working, to discuss the best way of enhancing it for birds. The next stop was outside the Globe where Chris pointed out the nests of the tube funnel spider (Segestria fiorentina).

Segestria florentina

 This originally came to the UK on fruit from Mediterranean countries in the 1860s and has spread slowly since. It loves the stone walls of Milverton, where it can find small holes to build its tube-like web. The webs have strands leading out in a fan from the hole, and when touched by prey the spider leaps out to catch it. However, a word of caution they will bite if you disturb them and they think you are prey!

The walk then travelled via Burgage to the Jubilee Gardens to discuss tree planting and the need to leave ivy to mature and flower to feed insects and provide berries for winter birds.

Colletes hederae, the ivy bee

Colletes hederae, the Ivy Bee, recent arrival in the UK

In the churchyard the group was greeted by the song of a now rare mistle thrush before moving to the Recreation Ground where Chris talked about the benefits of filling hedge gaps and leaving rough grass edges. The walk concluded at the Allotments which were full of birds.

Chris was very impressed with Milverton and its natural environment – its gardens, green spaces, trees and hedges. Overall it was a fascinating day brought alive by one of our finest local naturalists and we hope to be able to arrange a further visit from Chris in the Spring to celebrate the range of dawn bird song in the village.

Alive in Milverton is a recent initiative to bring people together with each other and with the rest of the natural world. It’s about a love of nature, community, local food, walking, art, singing, gardening, local history, cooking, farming, volunteering, sports – in fact anything that gets you meeting your neighbours, taking part and feeling good about where you live and work. Best described as a movement no one is in charge – it is community anarchic self-organisation at its best.

Alive is a transferable concept which we hope will grow across the country into a movement that creates opportunities for communities, residents and groups to share information and news about their activities and all that is good in their locality. It offers a chance for people to break out of their furrow, meet their neighbours, try something new whilst caring and sharing for our beautiful surroundings. Website: ; Facebook:

As part of the Alive in Milverton initiative, the EuCAN Milverton group ran a very successful nestbox factory for local adults and children in December 2016.




Reuben with last years box o