Salisbury Cathedral

By Emma Kirkup

The nature of my role means I’ve lucky enough to have gone up the tower of Salisbury Cathedral several times whether escorting press or even taking up VIPs in the sense of Paddington Bear and Shaun the Sheep! This time however, I was going to do a tower tour with a difference.

You may or may not be aware that for the past four years peregrine falcons have been using the Cathedral’s tower to provide a nesting spot. This tower included the main tower tour with the history and architectural facts but also a nature theme as we were also accompanied by someone from the RSPB.

We were taken on the usual tower tour route, stopping at the west window for the spectacular view along the nave and looking at the stained glass windows, the modern font and the curvature of the pillars.

Although there are a lot of steps involved, you are never doing them all in one hit so you get to rest a bit and listen before starting the next section of the tour.

We made it to the next section in time for 2pm – so we could see the clock in action which works the tower’s bells (located on the level above us).

After stopping at the various levels up the tower we made it to our highest point where doors lead you out to the base of the spire. Due to the feathery friends, we could only go out of three of the four doors – they have taken up residence on the south side.

Within this area of the tower, the Cathedral and the RSPB have set up a webcam where you can see what’s happening in the peregrine nest. A television in the tower live streams what’s going on from just outside the door.

As we had approached the final part of the tour we could hear one of the chicks squawking away but when we got to the TV it was nowhere to be seen, clearly a bit camera shy!

The lady from the RSPB then told us more about the peregrines including what they have been eating recently and evidence including woodpecker feathers. This pair had laid four eggs and all of them hatched however only two have survived and by the sounds of things are preparing to fledge.

View from the tower

We then got the opportunity to go out of the three doors to take in not only the views of the city but also to see if we could spot the parents. The views are beautiful from here and even with the rainy weather you could see for miles unfortunately though the peregrines were nowhere to be seen at this stage.

All was not lost though, as we came in from one of the doors one of the chicks had appeared on screen. It was pretty exciting to know it was only a metre or so away and pretty amazing to see how much it had changed from the bundle of fluff I saw in a photo only a couple of weeks ago!

Peregrine cam

The RSPB were also based in the Cathedral’s cloisters today with some telescopes so you can have the opportunity to view the birds from ground level.

Tower tours of Salisbury Cathedral run at regular times throughout the summer. Contact the Cathedral in advance for future RSPB tours being run on 01722 555156.




Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply