Two Pine Fen, Monday 29th November 2021

This blog post was written by Leader, Sally Gillard:

Although Frilford Heath Golf Course SSSI was closed to golfers on Monday following Storm Arwen’s snowfall, it didn’t deter the Green Gymmers and friends from their mission to carry out phase 1 of an autumn cut and rake of Two Pine Fen. 10 turned out and we set to work straight away as it was bitterly cold. Layers soon started to be cast off once we got into the swing of things, though. We took the opportunity to dig up willow stumps to prevent regrowth and concentrated our efforts on the “red course” side of the fen, in the knowledge that next Monday the “green course” hole will be closed and we‘ll be able to work uninterrupted on that side of the fen then.

Some of the scything was really tough going as it was lying every which way, but 6 of us gave it a really good try, whilst our four rakers soon started building up the dam in the stream, to help raise the water table and help rewet the fen.  It’s a real gem; home to 12 species of orchid, some very rare sphagnum mosses (to Oxfordshire at least) and the exquisite grass of parnassus.And wherever there’s a leaky dam there’s sure to be Rod d’Ayala, who worked valiantly with us.The Green-keeping staff were brilliant! We were handed a yellow tub at the start and we were asked to fill it with golf balls! The fen is peppered with them! They kindly offered us coffee as well.It was such a thrill to uncover the large patch of the sphagnum and we found at least four wasp spider egg cases, which are about 1.5cm wide, and an old stem of marsh helleborine with its spent seed heads as well as a number of tufts of black bog rush.We look forward to phase 2 next Monday, whatever the weather!

A wintry pine

Deserted golf course with a dusting of snow

Not a snowball but a spider egg case!


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