Cothill Fen, 12th May 2018

Only four of us, Eleanor, Graham, Margaret and Dieuwke turned up for Green Gym this Saturday, the lowest attendance for about eight years. We were working at Cothill Fen under the direction of Judy Webb and the task was much the same as we had been doing four weeks previously, that is, filling the pools and watercourses with cut reeds to lower the concentration of nitrates coming from the surrounding agricultural land.

Before we began work, we went for a short walk to admire the amazing carpet of English bluebells in the surrounding woodland.

We then began work on the other side of the fen to where we had been before, raking reeds into the ditch between Cothill Fen and Parsonage Moor and transporting them from a pile on the other side. After the break, we moved over to the other side of the fen and raked there and filled up the pools and ditches.

During the morning we saw cowslips and bugle on the edge of the fen, a large number of cuckoo flowers (lady’s smock) in the fen and marsh valerian, which has male and female flowers on separate plants. We also saw an interesting dragonfly, a female broad bodies chaser, which was newly emerged from its chrysalis and still drying its wings. Judy found a soldier fly, her speciality. This one was a “banded general” and looked rather like a wasp.

We finished our morning’s work feeling we had done pretty well, considering the low numbers.

Photos by Margaret and Judy:

The bluebell wood.


Lady's Smock/Cuckoo Flower.

Female Broad Bodied Chaser.


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