Barbara's Life

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Barbara Last's story in Wiltshire Life





Not many people know that Berwick has a claim to fame! Our very own Barbara Last has for the last 15 years been writing a regular monthly article for WiltshireLife magazine. For the latest edition, instead of writing about nature and stuff like that, she has been asked to write an article about herself. This is copied below..

My Wiltshire

I love Wiltshire. Although I have not lived here all my life, I have been here for the last sixty years and thus am not a true ‘Moon-raker’  My chief delight in the last quarter century has been the wildlife of Wiltshire.. This has had two points of origin. I became involved in the production of ’The Wiltshire Flora’, recording all the botanical species in the ten kilometre square allocated to me. That involved accurately determining even hard ones like grasses and sedges. This took seven years. before the eventual publication in 1993. After this, recorders amalgamated into the Wiltshire Botanical Society to continue the work of monitoring changes in the county flora. I was a founder member and the first Chairman for ten years.  At that time, my husband Dick and I became wardens of Middleton Down, a Wiltshire Trust Reserve at Broadchalke following a grant for its purchase. This entailed many visits to assess the wildlife there, and several winters helping to keep the encroaching gorse at bay. First task was to record t the flora. Then, Who else lives here? So we went on to butterflies, hoverflies, bees and all manner of beasties.. I omitted beetles and spiders, not because I didnt love them but the enormity of the task would take several lifetimes study, It followed then that I became the County Recorder for Hoverflies. This was great fun, My dear husband was more adept at catching them, leaving me to identify them. Other interests extended to the Salisbury Natural History Society for which I write a monthly botanical bulletin and am currently Vice President. I am also an avid photographer trying to catch images of all the fascinating creatures I have seen and sharing my enthusiasm by giving talks and slide shows to local groups. Sadly, declining agility and loss of my husband have resulted in relinquishing some of these activities.


 One pursuit I am able to follow is recording moths in my own garden using a light trap. The moths come to the light, remaining there until I can record them in the morning This has the advantage of bringing creatures to me instead of going out. It is quite astonishing the number of these beautiful nocturnal creatures that visit me. I have just this year recorded 195 species, some in large numbers. This is useful in contributing information about the change in biodiversity in the county

I still continue to contribute my ‘Last View’ for this publication as I have done since 1996, nearly always illustrated with my images













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