Monday, October 22, 2012

Cothill Fen, 20th October 2012

Saturday, October 20th was a lovely autumn day.  We were a large work party that walked from the car park down the woodland path to Cothill Fen.  The Welsh ponies introduced by Natural England, who manage the site, appeared out of the mist to greet us over the stile.  They help keep the fen open, grazing down the reeds and not minding the very boggy conditions.  We had rather more trouble staying upright among the sedge clumps than the surefooted ponies.  The uneven clumps were surrounded by even more water than usual.  We were to rake up and stack the reeds that had been cut earlier.  This encourages the beautiful marshy plants like meadow sweet, marsh helleborines, marsh thistle, black bogrush, sedge, hemp agrimony and many more to seed and spread in the right conditions.

Some of us cut down the encroaching scrub and small trees at the edge of the fen.  Judy, who represents Natural England, showed us many species of fungi that she picked up in and around the fen.  Their colours are truly astonishing.  From purest white through every shade of yellow and brown to bubblegum pink.  I particularly like the purple deceiver.

It was a lovely morning, the sun burnt through the mist, and insects buzzed and a curious Robin checked out our work, no doubt looking for the green caterpillar that decided to hide in our tool bag.

Welsh Pony greeting the group at the stile
several species of fungi

purple deceiver

boggy conditions at Cothill Fen

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