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Red panda birth marks another landmark for Longleat

Posted on 28th August 2017

Following the birth of a rare giant anteater earlier this month (as we reported on here), the conservation team at Longleat Safari Park are once again celebrating a very special new arrival.

Red panda cub

On Wednesday 23 August, a red panda cub named Turner was born to parents Rufina and Ajendra, marking another great success for the park’s important rare species breeding programmes.

Red pandas are solitary creatures in the wild, which has contributed to the recent population fall that led to them being officially classified as endangered in 2008. As such, the efforts of world-class conservation centres like Longleat are playing an instrumental part in the safeguarding and, hopefully, expansion of the species.

Keeper Samantha Allworthy was quoted in this Wiltshire Times article as saying: “We have been able to weigh Turner and confirm that he is a little boy and he is doing really well”.

Longleat is regarded as one of the very best wildlife attractions in the UK; be sure to book a stay at one of our luxurious Wiltshire holiday homes soon and take the chance to explore it for yourself.

Image Credit: Richard Gillin

Baby giant anteater born at Longleat Safari Park

Posted on 14th August 2017

The giant anteater breeding programme at Longleat Safari Park is celebrating another success, after it was announced that a fourth baby has been born to parents Maroni and Bonito.

Giant anteater

The arrival of the baby anteater, who has been named Bubbles, was hailed as an important moment for the species as a whole, which has sadly been designated as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

According to official statistics, numbers of wild giant anteaters fell by an alarming 30% between 2000 and 2010, making the work of the species’ European Breeding Programme – of which Bubbles is the latest result – even more vital.

Having now been open to the public for more than 50 years, Longleat has introduced countless people to the wonders of the animal kingdom.

Why not book a Wiltshire cottage holiday rental for your family soon and enjoy seeing the park’s newest addition for yourself?

Image Credit: Fernando Flores

Warminster Town Park given prestigious Green Flag Award

Posted on 21st July 2017

Warminster’s popular Town Park has been recognised for its beauty, cleanliness and excellent facilities by the prestigious Green Flag Awards.

County flag of Wiltshire

Just one year after being taken over by Warminster Town Council, the park – also known as the Lake Pleasure Grounds – has been completely refurbished over the last 12 months, and council representatives are delighted that their efforts have paid off.

Speaking to This is Wiltshire, Cllr Tony Nicklin, Deputy Mayor of Warminster, explained: “We know how much green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Warminster Town Park to such a high standard.”

The revamped pavilion café, a pristinely arranged lake island, and brand new flower beds are just some of the highlights which impressed the Green Flag judges, so anyone visiting the park this summer from the comfort of their Wiltshire holiday lets can be assured of a truly relaxing day out.

Image Credit: Paul Callan

‘Unheard of’ finding at Avebury Neolithic monument

Posted on 10th July 2017

A new discovery at the historic Avebury monument in Wiltshire has been hailed as ‘unheard of’ by archaeological experts.

Avebury Neolithic henge monument

Recent research by the universities of Leicester and Southampton has revealed that a formation of stones first uncovered 80 years ago by archaeologist Alexander Keiller is in fact part of a ‘stone square circle’, which is now believed to be among the earliest parts of the whole site.

Discussing the findings, Dr Mark Gillings told reporters that not in his ‘wildest dreams’ had he expected his team to make such a significant discovery, with his colleague Dr Joshua Pollard explaining that ‘square megalithic settings of this scale and complexity are unheard of’.

The archaeologists in charge of the project believe that the square may have been constructed to commemorate the ancestral home of Avebury’s first residents, and may indeed explain the purpose of the entire monument.

Officially designated as a World Heritage Site, Avebury has long fascinated historians, with amateurs and professionals alike flocking to holiday accommodation in Wiltshire to visit both this ancient monument and the iconic Stonehenge, which sits less than 20 miles away. With the confirmation of this latest discovery, interest in the area will now surely only increase.

Image Credit: Mark Kent

WW1 training tunnels found in Wiltshire

Posted on 12th May 2017

Lark Hill has long been associated with the military, who began buying up land on the Salisbury plains after the declining wool trade left the area in an economic slump. The Boer war in 1899 saw the area readied for the military camps but these were increased by the First World War.

Lark hill artillery range

As the army look to renovate areas of Lark hill to make new housing for those in service and their families, the training trenches and tunnels were rediscovered. The archaeologists who worked on the site were delighted. This is the first time anywhere in the world that archaeologists have had the chance to examine, excavate and record such an enormous expanse of First World War training ground,” said Si Cleggett, of  Wessex Archaeology.

There are dangers involved in excavating the area – over 200 grenades have been found on the site, and roughly half of these are still live meaning the archaeologists had to work with experts to unearth the secrets of the dig.

What they have learnt, however, has given personality to an essential part of British history. As the training required the troops to live in the tunnels for the winter of 1916/1917, they left behind graffiti and personal effects along with the detritus of everyday living. One of the later discoveries is that of a red MG sports car, dating from the 1930’s. It could indicate unrest in the lower ranks, as it is suspected to have been belonging to a young officer, and its overnight disappearance was part of a prank.

The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum is a wonderful place to learn more about the significant military history of Wiltshire and the surrounding areas while staying in a Wiltshire holiday cottage. In light of the recent discovery so close to the museum, the local and national interest has increased.

Image Credit: Andrew Haynes (Geograph)