A CELEBRATION has taken place to mark the 50th year since the Cirencester branch of Gloucestershire Naturalists was established.

The Gloucestershire Naturalists Society was set up 65 years ago and the Cirencester branch still engages in a wide range of ecological work.

A field meeting was organised by the group to commemorate the milestone, followed by a buffet and drinks to accompany a talk from wildlife photographer Michael Leach.

Chairman of the Cirencester Branch David Scott-Langley explained that the branch had gone through a lot of changes over the last 50 years.

He said: “Cirencester branch was quite active in the early days doing surveys around Cirencester. At one point they had a very active membership.”

“The area we work in has changed a lot. You used to be able to catch a bus or a train to a site, but now you can’t do that. Everybody relies on cars.”

He recalled one particularly notable find for the group when they recorded a group of Barkflies, previously unrecorded in the UK, at a house in Lechlade.

He added: “It’s always nice to find rare things.”

David estimated that there are about 400 people who are part of the group but only a fraction of this still attend meetings regularly.

The group is keen to attract new members of all ages and levels of experience and added that most of its members were enthusiastic amateurs with no ecological training.

Some members have been working with the group for many years and at least one member joined in his twenties is now over 70.

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