Sunday, September 22, 2013

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 21st September 2013

This was our third visit of the year to the Frilford Heath Golf Club. We were back at the Boundary House fen to continue with the clearance of felled tree material and the raking and stacking of reeds to ensure that this important habitat is developed and maintained.

Our work at the golf club is part of a wider programme of wildlife-friendly iniatives around the site.  This includes the re-introduction of heather and wild plants in areas between the fairways.  Indeed, on the walk to the fen, we spotted plants including viper's bugloss and hemp agrimony and also number of birds such as green woodpecker and mistle thrush.

The fen itself looked a little different than on our last visit back in April.  The vegetation around the perimeter had grown significantly, while the area was a little less soggy with the water level of the pond somewhat lower after the dry summer.  The reeds had recently been cut and so our task was to rake and stack them in piles at the edge of the fen and also to continue the removal of stray tree branches and roots that still remained from when the area was largely cleared of trees before our first visit.

With just eight of us, along with our supervisor, Alison Muldal from Natural England, the task was fairly daunting with the vast amount of reeds to be cleared and with the ground being rather rough and uneven.  That said, it was encouraging to see the re-colonisation of native plants along with sightings of a common toad and a field mouse.  Our work is not in vain!

Fuelled by tea, coffee and biscuits at the break, we pushed on and made good progress to the end of the session, even continuing somewhat beyond our usual 12:30pm deadline.  There is still plenty left of work left to do at the site, but we will be back next month to continue and hopefully finish the reed clearance for this season at least.

Viper's Bugloss

fen clearance underway

the common toad

tea break

looking down on hemp agrimony

spot the difference!

pile of cleared tree branches

some of the raked reeds

it's a fair-way back!

sign in 'heather nursery' area informing golfers to stay clear

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