The Tisbury and District Natural History Society was founded in 1981 by a committee chaired by the late Lt Col David Swift, with the first meeting celebrated in February 1982. Our aim is to give members the opportunity to learn about the many and diverse aspects of local natural history and also further afield.
Annual donations have been made by the Society since the foundation to the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust and to other local and national appeals, if we judge the cause to be relevant to our own aims. For example, we supported the Woodland Trust's purchase of the Duncliffe Wood, near Shaftesbury and in 2015 Wiltshire Wildlife's appeal to fund the purchase of land adjacent to Coombe Bissett Down.
As well as the monthly talks we organise during the winter months, in the summer we offer our members the opportunity to visit the many reserves and areas where local flora and fauna can be observed and enjoyed. You can find out about our forthcoming and past talks and walks browsing through this website and on our blog. We also run a parallel programme of events to get local young people involved, under the name of Young Nature Watch.
We also look for opportunities to promote nature conservation in our area - we occasionally comment, for example on local planning matters or undertake projects to support and encourage wildlife locally. For example, members were involved in the work leading up to the publication of The Wiltshire Flora in 1993, creating the pond at St John's School in Tisbury and, more recently, the creation and management of the Parish Wildflower Meadow near the Nadder Centre and the installation of swift nest boxes in and around Tisbury.
The annual membership fee is £10, and the fee for guest attendance is £2 per event. If you would like to become a member, you can do so in person at any of our events, or getting in touch.
President of the Tisbury and District Natural History Society
We are delighted that Pete Thompson accepted the Committee's proposal in February 2023 to appoint him as our President. Pete has a long history of dedication to the Society, having served on the committee for 35 years from 1983 to 2018 and as Chair for 27 years from 1991 to 2018. Pete was born in Devon but moved around with his parents who bought, operated and sold various shops, in Dawlish, Misterton, Tarrant Keynston and Lee-on-Solent before finally ending up in Salisbury. After a stint as a coach builder, Pete went into the aviation industry, working at Larkhill, Boscombe, and Heathrow. He retired in 2004 from a senior management role at Hurn. Whilst at Larkhill, Pete explored Salisbury Plain and discovered how rich in biodiversity it was, and together with some colleagues encouraged the MOD to set up conservation groups to manage the land in a much more focused and wildlife-friendly way. His interest in wildlife and the countryside was nurtured mainly by his father through weekend expeditions into Dartmoor. Beginning with an interest in butterflies and birds, Pete later pursued his learning in bats too, acquiring and holding a Bat Licence for 30 years.