Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cothill Fen, 5th October 2013

Ten Green Gymmers met in the car park opposite the Merry Miller pub for our session at Cothill Fen. We always look forward to coming here as this alkaline fen is an interesting place in terms of its biodiversity and different from many of the places where we work.

We made our way along the footpath to the fen, where Bob from Natural England was waiting to give us instructions to start us off and then we were left in charge of Judy, who is a wildlife expert in the area. We noticed some changes since our last visit, New fencing had been erected and the plan is to link the fen with Parsonage Moor next door. Ponies already graze Parsonage Moor for part of the year and more ponies from Anglesey will be brought in next year. These ponies are used to boggy places and should have the sense to avoid the deep water.

We set to work raking up the cut grass and reeds and piling them on to the existing piles. Natural England have found a contractor who will be able to take the piles away for composting. There was also a lot of alder to be cut back from the edge of the fen. It is important to leave the fen clear of new tree growth.

At tea break time we had a pleasant surprise when Dieuwke brought out some cakes to celebrate her birthday the previous day. Judy showed us some interesting fungi she had collected. She also told us that a national fen inspector had been very impressed by improvements in the fen over the past ten years. It had suffered greatly from a drop in the water table due to local gravel extraction, but was now well on the way to recovery.

We carried on working until it was time to pack up and look forward to returning for our last Green Gym session before Christmas.

Tea and cake!

Margaret and pitchfork

Judy Webb's fungi
more work on the fen

raking up reeds


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