Hope Bagot Village
Nature and wildlife
Hope Bagot is situated in a southwest valley - sheltered from northerly winds by nearby Clee Hill (533 metres). The earliest known surviving man made structures on the hill are a series of Bronze Age burial mounds surrounding the hill summit. They are clear evidence that the hill has had a significance for at least some 4000 years. Finds of flint tools in the stream valleys on the slopes of Titterstone are even earlier, suggesting that after the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated and the wild wood returned, some 7000 years ago, Mesolithic hunters moved along the river valleys, perhaps following the landmark of the familiar domed outline of Titterstone standing proud above the tree line. The view from Clee Hill is reputed to be one of the best views in England (on a clear day!).
Between Hope Bagot and Clee Hill lie The Novers and Knowle Woods which have been extensively surveyed for their birdlife.
The village of Hope Bagot is surrounded by small scale farming and smallholder activities with mainly grazing sheep and some beef cattle being the farm livestock - although many households keep chickens. The land is hilly with streams and deciduous woodland attracting a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Many common species of bird are well represented with numerous blue tit, great tit, coal tit, longtailed tit, bullfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, sparrow, wren, robin, blackbird, thrush, siskin, nuthatch, treecreeper, goldcrest, flycatcher, and other birds. With such a variety these attract peregrines, sparrowhawks, with kestrels, buzzards, kites, numerous tawny owls and occasional barn owls comprising the main avian predators with the occasional merlin being spotted. Great spotted woodpeckers are common, with the green woodpecker being a regular visitor, and all members of the corvid family are present. The nightjar can be heard on early summer evenings and swallows commonly nest in barns and stables, housemartins (on houses!) with swifts paying regular visits from Clee Hill.
Muntjac deer and the occasional roe deer can be seen and badgers are common. Fox, hare, rabbit, hedgehog, stoat and weasel can be found, grass snakes and great crested newts add to the biodiversity. Otter tracks can occasionally be seen alongside the streams.
Wild plants abound both in the churchyard and surrounding country - from January when the snowdrops emerge to early summer with bluebells, and wood anemones, to mid summer with foxgloves, ox eye daisies and dog violets through to autumn with teasels and burdock. In late April/early May the last survivors of the perry pear orchards are in flower attracting a wide range of pollinators.