A Souvenir from Chedworth Roman Villa

While pulling up some gone-far-too-rampant shrubs from one of the borders last weekend I found lots of snails, including this shell from a Roman or Burgundy Snail (Helix pomatia). This is an edible snail brought to UK by the Romans and still to be found some places in the Cotswold. In the absence of a living specimen I think the shell is probably a souvenir from a trip to the National Trust’s Chedworth Roman Villa, as while they might have been living in UK for hundreds of years, so far this lazy snail didn’t manage to spread very far - unlike many of its mollusc relatives. Too bad! Chedworth by the way is a really nice place to visit for both archaeology and nature, more info here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth-roman-villa/features/wildlife-among-the-archaeology

Yanking out overgrown plants, I also found a nice selection of Brown-lipped or Grove Snails (Cepaea nemoralis). These are pretty snails, varying in their colour quite a lot. Apparently they are also edible, but you would need a lot more of them than of their Roman relatives to make a meal.

Small Snails

Lots of snails made it through the winter and have come crawling out of garden waste in the composting bin. Strawberry Snail (Trochulus striolatus) on the left, is one of the commonest snails in the garden, but the Girdled Snail (Hygromia cinctella) on the right is a new one for the list (#428). Girdled Snail has a distinctive white stripe around its keel and the shell is smoother than on the similarly-sized Strawberry Snail. It is yet another non-native species, originating in Mediterranean Europe and only discovered in UK in 1950 in Devon. From there it has slowly spread over much of the England, as it has also crawled its way across much of Central and Northern Europe.