Sunday, 24 June 2007


It was time to give the newly regenerated area of Fowlmead a proper look in peace and quiet, and that certainly described the place this weekend, to my approval.

The country park already has a wide range of flora on its varied habitats, from stonecrops eking out a niche on the shale, to reeds and comfrey on the wetlands. The first flowers of note were, however, in a ditch in the car park, being a coupling of Yellow Wort and Centaury.

Yellow Wort with Centaury buds


The varied habitats have also attracted a good selection of bugs, and a reasonable number of bird species - a pair of Cuckoos flew out of the trees by one of the ponds, and circled the tip throughout my visit, calling frequently.

Cinnabar moth caterpillar

Reed warbler filling its beak

Bug on Stonecrop

The poor soil has given a chance to the weaker species of plant to establish themselves, without being overwhelmed by more invasive types, and it will be fascinating to watch this interaction in future years. St John's Wort, Tansy and Viper's Bugloss are the most eye-catching flowers at the moment, providing patches of striking colour against the grey/black ground, without the usual cover of grass.

Viper's Bugloss

Thick-kneed Flower Beetle, on Field Bindweed

It seems that a marvellous nature reserve has been created, but it remains to be seen if that's enough - it has some interest for families and other 'normal' people but it will never be a Disneyland - and I hope that it's allowed to develop for its own sake.

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