Stuck at home? Create something for the Troopers Hill Art Competition

April 06 2020
Stuck at home? Create something for the Troopers Hill Art Competition

News from the Friends of Troopers Hill

While Friends of Troopers Hill have had to cancel nature conservation work parties, events and meetings, Troopers Hill remains a beautiful site that many people can enjoy viewing from their gardens or windows.

The good news that the Troopers Hill Art Competition can still go ahead. The terms of the competition were always that images of entries should be emailed for judging. Judging can be done online without the judges meeting. We hope that the situation will have improved so we can have a physical exhibition at an open air picnic at the end of June but if not, we will set up an online exhibition.

There will be lots of very busy people out there, but for those of all ages who are bored, stuck at home, why not take this opportunity to be creative, whether with pen, paint-brush, chisel, needle, mouse or any other artistic implement and send us images of your creation?

We think more than 2,000 people can see Troopers Hill from their windows, so if you can’t visit, your subject can be viewed from your home or you can seek inspiration from our website or your imagination. I love the idea of a dragon living under the Hill in the old coal mines, using the top chimney as a vent.

Full details of the competition can be found here.

A huge thank you to Didac Ltd of the Woodwise Academy in Crews Hole, who are donating the trophy.  Their business includes providing training in industrial woodwork, so we are hoping some of the entries will involve using wood.

Art is coming to the aid of the Troopers Hill slide. I wrote in the last issue about the appeal I am running to raise funds for a new slide to replace the much-loved one that rusted away, beyond repair. Redfield-based landscape and documentary artist Oliver Sidaway read the article and contacted me to donate a beautiful oil painting of the old slide, looking beautiful on a spring day in 2017. In an exhibition this would normally fetch, unframed, in the region of £300. We are thinking of running a sealed bid, online auction, with a reserve, when people have fewer concerns.

Please contact us via if you have alternative ideas - or you can make a donation via our GofundMe page.

You can view more of Oliver’s art at his website.

Nature continues to flourish all around as spring brings flowers in bloom and insects in flight. Look out for the amazing beeflies, below, in your own gardens.


These beautiful, cute bundles of golden brown “fur” with long pointed “noses”, looking like tiny delta wing aircraft, have a very short flight season. It is wonderful to see one hovering above a primrose or speedwell flower, sticking its “nose” straight down the middle to gather the nectar. There are a number of beeflies in this country: two have been found on Troopers Hill. Bombylius major is a very common species of beefly and the one you are most likely to see. However, on Troopers Hill, in addition to Bombylius major, Bombylius discolour (the dotted beefly) has been recorded, which is classed as Nationally Scarce.

Beeflies lay their eggs in the nests of mining bees, beetles and wasps. When the beefly larvae hatch they live off the larvae of their “host”. Fortunately, with such a short flight season, it is only mining bees, wasps and beetle species laying eggs at the same time that are affected. Different species of bee hatch out to have their very short periods of life as adults almost all through the year, with ivy bees appearing as the ivy flowers blossom from September onwards.

Stay well, everyone, and keep enjoying and caring for nature.


Susan Acton-Campbell