Follow the brown signs
My Alternative Torch Relay via the brown tourist signs of Great Britain continues and we find ourselves hurtling excitedly into day 5. The torch’s destination today is Cheltenham travelling from Bristol (where a company who once made the error of employing me as their travelling saleswoman were based. Needless to say much of the time they thought I was on the road doing my job I was actually randomly following brown tourist signs and thus making myself very late for meetings and generally being terribly unprofessional – even then I couldn’t escape my calling).
Right in the middle of the map where the torch passes today sits Swindon. There are lots of lovely towns and quaint little villages along the route today, the Cotswolds are especially gorgeous, but precisely because Swindon isn’t very picturesque and gets a bit of a bad rap I thought I’d feature it on the blog. I did a quick search for attractions in Swindon and 2 caught my eye: The Museum of Computing Swindon and Studley Grange Butterfly Farm. It was a tough choice, especially as the computing museum is a relatively new attraction and I like them a lot, but as I’ve recently finished a whole massive chapter on Butterfly Farms and it just so happens to be Butterfly Conservation Week this week I decided to share Studley Grange with you, avid reader.
Studley is actually 2 visitor attractions in one, the butterfly farm and also craft centre which focusses specifically on dolls houses and dolls house furniture. It always makes me very happy when I see hobbies that I thought were extinct still going strong in little pockets around the UK, very esoteric. Toys and fashions may change but put a little girl in front of a doll’s house and she’ll be happy for hours, they definitely do survive without their iPads I promise you.
Studley Grange has a great website with lots of information about the butterfly farm, detailing the events, school trips, VIP days and children’s parties all aimed at getting more people learning about butterflies and why they’re important. Butterfly numbers are declining rapidly due to increasing industrialisation as ever more roads and houses are being built across Britain, but as butterfly numbers can be used as early indicators of the state of our natural world it’s so important take notice of them and protect them. Butterfly farms like Studley Grange work in association with organisations like Butterfly Conservation to help increase awareness of the plight of native butterflies and how we can all get involved to slow their decline. There are walks, talks and workshops organised nationwide for everyone to get involved in and to learn about how we can all protect these beautiful creatures we all love but take for granted.
So get involved with events that are running at places like Studley Grange around you. You start getting immersed in the brilliant things passionate people are doing for important causes everywhere. And if you can learn about butterflies and be inspired to spend more time in the countryside in somewhere like Swindon, a town famous for it’s roundabouts, then you can do it anywhere, it’s easy, just followthebrownsigns.com!