Visualisation of species interaction on a Somerset Farm

This is pretty cool: a team including Michael Pocock from CES in Oxfordshire has mapped and visualised species interactions, based on data from Norwood Farm in Somerset.

See the publication in Science


Species’ interaction networks at Norwood Farm, Somerset, UK. The entire network of networks is shown at top left (in which each circle represents one species), and quantitative visualizations are shown for each of the seven quantified individual networks (in which each block is a species, and the width of blocks of each color represents relative abundance). Details of the networks are given in table S1 and (14). Dark green and light green circles and blocks indicate noncrop and crop plants, respectively, whereas other colors indicate animal groups. Scale bars indicate the abundance of animal taxa. Plants are scaled in proportion to their interactions.

From: The Robustness and Restoration of a Network of Ecological Networks by Michael J. O. Pocock, Darren M. Evans, Jane Memmott

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Bath Blue confirmed as “best cheese in the world”…nourished by Kelston Roundhill

The Bath Soft Cheese company just had its Bath Blue named best cheese in the world – supreme champion – at the 2014 World Cheese Awards – story here. It’s an astonishing achievement, judged by an international panel against 2600 other cheeses from round the world.

Bath Blue: officially the best cheese in the world

We like to claim the cheese is nourished by Kelston Roundhill and there’s some truth in that because the Padfield’s organic cows graze the lower slopes. In reality rather more of the grazing is done on their own farm next door which is fertile low-lying pasture and more than twice the size. And of course in renting the Kelston Roundhill land to expand their successful business they do all the hard work of farming and maintenance to make the most of its modest productive value.

So we can’t really take any of the credit for this jaw-dropping achievement. But we could not be more chuffed for Graham, Hugh and the whole team. Congratulations!

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Kelston as Minecraft, by Leigh Dodds

This is insane. You can now fly from Bath to Kelston in the visual idiom of the online building game that every child and gamer is currently obsessed with. Leigh Dodds has created in Minecraft this visualisation based on Ordnance Survey digital map data. If I’ve got my bearings right the Roundhill is in our sights at 1:17.

Last month Leigh (see his blog DataSulis) won a BathHacked award for his pollutant levels visualisation (I missed that event; I couldn’t even manage to get the date right, let alone the data).

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RIP Albert Backholer


Albert Backholer working on Kelston Roundhill in 1959

The ashes of Albert Backholer were scattered on Kelston Roundhill on Sept 26th. Albert, his brothers John and Denis and his father all worked on the farm with  Andrew Dinham, who said Albert’s passing was the end of an era. This photo of Albert in 1959 was sent in by his son Steve.

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September sunrise over the Klump

IMG_3288 Sunrise As Taken (small)

Morning everyone. Another picture to light up your day from Matt Prosser.

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We thought it was the “end of the Union” storm…

Thursday 18th, the day the Scots voted on independence, saw a huge storm in the south west. This long-exposure shot with Kelston clump in the distant horizon was taken by Matt Prosser in Keynsham:

IMG_3116 Lightning Fixed (small)



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A year of fantastic Clump photos celebrated in picnic prizegiving

Winners of the Clump photo competition were celebrated on 16 August at a picnic held in two Army tents.

Overall winner, for a whole season’s series of epic pictures (among many favourites we chose the clump under a highly significant May full moon) had to be Matt Prosser. Matt wins a Bath Soft Cheese, presented by Hugh Padfield, and a jar of Kelston Roundhill honey prepared by Dr Clive Smith. Another award of single-estate Rodden Apple Juice from Dorset went to Graham Padfield for his picture of the barn in the setting sun. Finally BonnieMarie (from whom we think there is more to come) gets an award of a bottle of cider (contributed by Matt) for her rainbow on the clump (is it beaming energy up? or down?).

Many thanks to all who came, judges – especially Paul Clarke for his insightful comments – contributors of photos and of prizes.  Main aim was to ensure that no-one went home with the prize they’d brought in the first place – successfully achieved we think.


Kelston picnic photo; tents and table supplied by Ed Strutt


Kelston picnic group photo 16 August 2014, by Matt Prosser.

Kelston picnic group photo by Matt Prosser.

For next year’s August picnic we plan an “any media” competition for expressing the spirit of the place. Also – inspired by Theo – soapbox races. Ideal occasion for that with a long, steep bumpy track and at least half a dozen qualified doctors and nurses in attendance.


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