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North Dorset Nature – Episode 10

Listen to our weekly programme devoted to wildlife in Shaftesbury and the villages. North Dorset Nature is presented from Motcombe by Natalie Bourchier and Ben Hussey.

On this week’s show:

  • Natalie and Ben reveal how dung beetles have been worshipped in certain cultures and civilisations. They investigate some of the local nature-based legends. There don’t appear to be any strange stories from Shaftesbury, Motcombe and the villages, but Portland is a rich seam! “There’s the monstrous marine cockroach supposedly that emerged out of the sea,” says Natalie. (0:50)
  • Dee Abbott delves into the mythology and folklore of flowers. Stories grew around the idea that plants were invested with the power to ward off evil spirits and their medicinal use could be identified by their appearance, touch or smell. (5:22)
  • Alexandra Richards and her nature-loving, three-year-old son Archie go in search of woodlice. “They are nature’s recyclers,” says Alex. According to researchers, the word people use for woodlice is a pretty strong indicator of where they’re from. Listen and you’ll find out the distinctive Dorset dialect word. And Alex shares some bizarre historical uses for woodlice as cures for various ailments. (12:43)
  • Nick Crump chats with Mariko Whyte about the life of the bee fly and how it has a parasitic relationship with the mining bee. They are most noticeable by their long proboscis that points out from the nose. We learn how to identify males and females and the macabre way the larvae devour the mining bee larvae. The females flick the eggs one at a time towards the entrance hole of the mining bee – like trying to score in netball. (21:45)
  • Dorset is home to all 12 species of amphibian and reptile in Britain. Dorset Amphibian and Reptile Network carries out surveys to find out what species are using different areas across Dorset. Mariko met with Sheila Dyason, chair of DARN, on Breach Common to discuss the group’s work. (33:54)