We had received a comprehensive email from site supervisor, Rod D'Ayala (from the Freshwater Habitats Trust) in advance on what was to be done during this session at Boundary House Fen, situated within Frilford Heath Golf Club.
The principal task was to rake the cut reeds and fill the main drainage ditch in order for the water to flood the adjacent area and continue restoring this locally rare wetland habitat.
Since it was a misty start with low visibility, I thought it best to take the track down to the fen rather than chance the short cut across the course. We couldn't afford to lose any of our small team of dedicated Green Gymmers before we even started. If we had run the gauntlet of the fairway with its many hurtling golf balls, we risked both injury and spoiling the golfers' rounds!
Once at the fen Rod was already there along with our ecologist-in-residence Judy Webb. Rod was busy with the brush cutter on the reeds. We commenced our operations with the familiar routine of raking, drag bagging and pitch forking the reeds to the ditch.
We were pleased to see that the blocking of the ditch - a continuation of the work from our previous sessions here, is having the intended effect. The water is being pushed out onto the wider fen area. Today was therefore a continuation of piling the new reeds on top of the older reed layers and standing on them making them sink, being careful no one got a boot full of muddy water or worse! This has happened in the past to a few unfortunate folk amongst us, sinking thigh-deep.
Judy was here to see how the flora was coming along but had to rush off to supervise other work parties on nearby sites. It is a busy time of year for conservation work, clearing the summer's growth to encourage the right plants to come through next year.
To that effect, Rod and Judy had brought a drag bag full of marsh lousewort plants. The seeds of the plants when spread across the fen will restrict reed growth next year. Apparently in the old days, people would stuff it down their shirts to try and kill off body louse.
So with the marsh lousewort duly spread and trampled in, we completed the morning's efforts. We'll be back here in a month's time to continue our work and see how the transformation is coming along.
|Dieuwke about to take another pile of reeds to the ditch, while Carolyn rakes vigorously to make more piles!|
|Rosie, James, Lesley, Matt and Janet bag and drag it!|
|Phillipa squamosa (shaggy scaly cap) on the left, Lactarius torminosus (fleecy milk cap) on the right.|
|Harvest mouse nest found in reeds.|
|Amanita echinocephala (solitary amanita)|