Butterflies of the Week 6th May 2020



Large and Small whites:  These are the ‘Cabbage Whites’ that are a gardeners’ nightmare. There are two separate species the Large and the Small. They both over-winter as pupae formed at the end of August or beginning of September and emerge in April the following Spring.

The Large White lays eggs in batches, particularly on the leaves of domestic Brassicas, up to 150 at a time. They hatch into caterpillars that feed particularly on the outer leaves of ‘cabbages’ and, being so exposed, their bold black and yellow colouring indicates to predators their unpalatability. There is some help for gardener’s in the form of the ichneumon wasp, Cotesia glomerata. These wasps lay between 15 and 80 eggs into young large white caterpillars. These wasp larvae feed on the caterpillar’s fat reserves without killing it and finally, when fully grown, break out of the now dead caterpillar forming a collection of yellow cocoons around the corpse.

The Small White lays its eggs singly and the caterpillars move onto the underside of leaves in the heart of the plant doing considerable damage. Being green in colour and being on the underneath of leaves makes them well camouflaged. In the same way as for the large white there are a variety of parasitic wasps (including Cotesia rubecula) that lay eggs inside young caterpillars.

To tell these whites apart look at the front edge of the forewings. In the Large White it goes all the way around the point of the wing as unbroken black. In the Small White the black is almost entirely on the front edge of the wing. Large White females and males and females of Small Whites have two more or less conspicuous black spots on the upper surface of the forewing. Male Large Whites have no such spots. Generally, the Large Whites are distinctly larger than the Small Whites, but they can each vary being extra small or large in size. You might think of Large Whites as being Peacock sized and Small Whites as being Small Tortoiseshell sized.

For both these Whites there are 2 generations each year with the butterflies flying in April and May laying eggs that become the butterflies flying in July and August whose eggs will go on to produce the overwintering pupae.

Photos   Peter Bright   Mick Fletcher


Broad-bodied chaser

Male broad-bodied chaser (females are brown), the second of our damsel & dragonflies to appear in spring. Males patrol ponds and aggressively chase way other males that appear.

Poem of the Week

This week we return with a Shakespearean bent, the opening to The Scottish Play with a village twist!  Village ode

by Bob Dolby

Chris Harris

PS. to see all Poems of the Week, click on the ‘Poetry’ Category on the website News page, or click here Poem of the Week


Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page  https://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

Free Face Masks

We have mentioned before that a team of volunteers led by Cathy Hancock have been making face masks, initially for workers in the care sector.  A number of these masks are available in the village shop for people who feel they might benefit from wearing one on occasions – a maximum of two per person.  They are free but Cathy is suggesting a donation which will be used to purchase more materials and any surplus will go to NHS Covid-19 charities.

Bank Holiday – Shop opening hours

We have also mentioned before that Friday is a Bank Holiday (for VE Day ) This means that the shop will be operating reduced opening hours and customers are asked to get their orders in a day early if they can, to be sure of getting what they need.

Look out for scams

Unfortunately, there are those who are taking advantage of the current crisis to try to trick people out of their money with a variety of scams and frauds, most of which involve email or social media.. The Home Office have published a guide to the most common scams that are around at the moment, and we are attaching a copy for information. Document 4 Praish Coronavirus Fraud and Scams update May 2020

More activities for families

Finally, Ellie Mains has produced another compilation of interesting and educational activities for families including information about a meteor shower which will be at its best on the night of the 5th to 6th May.  Let’s hope for a clear night. Update for families 4 May (002)


Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page  https://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

We have two attachments.  One concerns VE day and gives further details of activities on Friday 8th May that Mendip District Council is urging local residents to join in with. The activities are of course all home based because the social distancing rules will not allow public meetings. Mendip VE day

The 8th May is a Bank Holiday this year but in case anyone was wondering it will not affect bin collections the following week.

The other attachment gives details of services offered by Somerset Library Service that anyone can sign up for – you don’t have to be a current member of the library as you can sign in online.  The message from the Library Service also confirms that no one will incur a fine if the lockdown has prevented them returning a book in time. Somerset libraries

Sue reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher  (870531)  on behalf of the parish council


Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page  https://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

We hope everyone is keeping safe and well; we have four items here:

VE Day Commemoration

As most will be aware it is only one week to VE Day and although official celebrations have had to be cancelled it is still possible to join in a collective commemoration from the safety of your own home. This notice  https://www.veday75.org/  from the organisers of the commemoration suggests ways in which people can still participate, including a two minute silence at 11.00 am on Friday 8th May and a toast at 3.00pm the same day.

What can I do under lockdown?

A number of people have talked about a lack of clarity in relation to what can and cannot be done under the lockdown regulations.  That message has clearly got through to government who have today published a set of answers to frequently asked questions about what is and is not permitted.  The guidance is available here  https://tinyurl.com/ybvwyqwr

Healthy Start.

Since we published details of the Friendly Society scheme of financial support for individuals and families whose income has been hit by coronavirus our attention has been drawn to the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme which provides free milk and fresh produce for those with children under four who are in receipt of certain benefits.  Since the economic impact of Covid-19 may affect families unfamiliar with aspects of the benefits system we are providing a link to the scheme here. https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/

Last chance to adopt a pole

At the time of writing only two substantially used telegraph poles remain to be adopted – one on Station Road and one at the bottom of Perch Hill; the White Noticeboard on Stoneleigh might also be counted as an honorary pole.  Move quickly if you want to enter the competition for staple recycling

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)  on behalf of the parish council



Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page  https://westburysubmendip-pc.gov.uk/category/covid-19/

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

Friendly Society: Support for organisations

In a previous update we announced that the Friendly Society had established a scheme of emergency support for individuals and families whose income had been seriously affected by the coronavirus outbreak.   The Friendly Society is also anxious to ensure that any voluntary organisations that serve the people of Westbury can survive the financial shock.  The Playing Fields and the Village Hall have arrangements in hand to bid for funding from external sources but if there are other organisations that have suffered financially, they may wish to consider an application to the Friendly Society.  A copy of the guidelines for organisations thinking of applying is here… Guidance Application for Organisations

The Village Hall AGM

The village hall was due to have its annual meeting in the week commencing Monday 11th May. In view of the pandemic it is proposed to conduct it via an exchange of emails. The agenda will go out shortly listing items and whatever comments might be made by the chairman introducing them.   Anyone interested in ’attending’ is asked to submit their email address and thereby give permission for it to be circulated on an open list.  Comments should be made to all on the list and replies made to ‘all’ so that everyone can see what others have said. The minutes secretary will draw threads together and circulate a draft of decisions made for approval.

As it is a public meeting anyone is welcome to join in. If you indicate your interest by emailing Peter Bright   peterbright60@btinternet.com  you will then get an agenda inviting comments. If you are not on email but would like to submit comments by telephone, please ring  01749 870640


We have received the message below from Somerset County Council

Hold on to your clothes, or lose them to landfill

Somerset is being asked to hold on to its unwanted clothes and textiles to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.

Somerset Waste Partnership is committed to making sure everything it collects that can be recycled, is recycled and recycled close to home. Last year more than 92% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK, cutting the same carbon as taking 25,000 cars off the road (https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/slider/beyond-the-kerb/ )

But Coronavirus is making that impossible to guarantee, so kerbside textile recycling collections are being suspended until the situation improves.

Residents are encouraged to keep unwanted textiles – that are of good enough quality to be worn again – at home until they can be taken to charity shops or the SWP kerbside collections restart.

Posters and poles

A reminder that there is still time for children and adults to enter our poster competition and also still scope for anyone to adopt a pole.  Volunteers have so far extracted over 170 grams of metal from those adopted up to now but here are still some lonely poles in the village with plenty of staples and pins.  Posters (A4 size) should be sent to Sue Reece – either scanned and sent to suereece1@btinternet.com or left for collection at the village shop.

Cheddar Gorge road closed.

Avon and Somerset police have just announced that the road through Cheddar Gorge has been closed until further notice because of dangerous driving in this area.  We will let people know as and when things change.

Beware of ticks

Since increasing numbers of people are taking regular exercise by walking in the countryside it seems important to remind everyone of the potential danger caused by ticks, which some locals report are particularly abundant this year.  In a small number of cases a bite from a tick can cause a serious infection called Lyme Disease – to read about the symptoms and how to protect yourself click here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/  The ticks wait on vegetation until an animal brushes past and they then move over the body to find a suitable place to attach; so as well as checking yourself do look out for ticks on children and pets.

Sue Reece (870618)  Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council


Weather data for March and April 2005 to 2020. Lynch Lane, Westbury-sub-Mendip

2020.4.5 March max min rain data 2006 to 2020

2020.4.30 April max min rain data 2006 to 2020

Westbury Butterfly of the Week 29th April 2020


Green-veined white: It looks like a cabbage white but isn’t. They over winter as pupae which emerge in April and lay their eggs on wild relatives of cabbages – garlic mustard, charlock, lady’s smock and other wild brassicas. In gardens they may use nasturtiums and Alyssums. The offspring of the butterflies flying now emerge in July or August and their offspring, in turn, will become the overwintering pupae. The butterfly is the size of a small white but on the upper side of the forewings the black on the wing tip goes round the point of the wing. In the small white it is only on the front edge. The underside of the hind wing has veins heavily dusted with black and yellow scales giving the ‘green veins’ in its name. Compared to the ‘cabbage whites’ both large and small, they are much more commonly seen out in the wider countryside though they do pass through gardens on their wanderings. The whites seen on the top of Mendip are more LIKELY to be green-veined whites whereas in your garden cabbage patch, it is the other way round. See Butterflies of the Week for 6th May.

Photos John Ball   Peter Bright

Poem of the Week

We have another poem of the week.  We plan in future to put these out on Mondays and have enough to see us well into May but please keep your contributions coming in.

A Haiku inspired by Womens Hour