Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cothill Fen, 8th February 2014

Expecting to see a large lake, we were surprised to find that the fen was its usual self.  Watery but not impossible to walk and work on.  Maybe the fen, being spongy in nature absorbed a lot of the water that has fallen this last month.

Our tasks were to rake up reeds that had been cut previously, and put them in piles at the margin of the fen.  Also cut back encroaching scrub and trees to keep the fen open and wet.

The morning started wonderfully sunny, a relief after the rainy week, and apart from some dramatic grey storm clouds on the horizon, remained dry and fine throughout the session.

Judy from Natural England got us started, and we completed all the raking and made good inroads with the tree cutting.  Judy invited us back for an evening walk later in the year when the effect of this work can really be appreciated.  Marsh orchids, marsh helleborines, bog pimpernel, black bog rush and marsh valerian can be found in spring and summer.  Of the wildlife, I only saw a lovely fat toad, and various birds like sedge warblers and robins. But it is also a good habitat for grass snakes and lizards.

This site is always a pleasure to work on, as it seems so remote and feels very peaceful.  The only hazards are getting wet feet when the ground suddenly gives way or toppling over on the uneven ground, but I think we avoided both this time.

- Ursula 

drier than expected, but wellies still required!

chatting while we work?

Andrew, mid-thought at tea-break...

Margaret takes time out from the relentless raking

James, the woodsman

work well-underway

Lauren hides-out among the reed piles

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