Friday, 3 August 2007

Goat Field

Between the Scout Camp and the Upper Street, the hill top known as the Goat Field is variously tall scrub and low grassland depending on whether the owner has decided to decimate the growth or not.

In the last twenty years, the scrub has been cut about three times, most recently this spring, so at the moment it is a meadow.

The scrub cutting tends to annoy residents who see it as vandalism against nature, but the variety of plant species that have grown up since the cut is impressively large so I'm in favour of this. Unfortunately, the infrequency of the cut means that there is no consistency, and species that cannot survive the periods of growth do not stay, and so do not return when favourable conditions return.

An area of chalk grassland like this should support blue butterflies and skippers, but in fact only has only the grassland Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, with margin-feeders like Ringlets and Speckled Woods.
Speckled Wood

Many varieties of plant have emerged, blinking into the sunlight - vetches, marjoram, thistles, scabious and a host of others (i.e. ones I can't identify), as well as a range of garden escapees like buddliea that have spread from rubbish dumped at the margins of the field over the years. There is also an impressive swath of nettles that should provide good food for caterpillars over the autumn.
Bacon and Eggs (or Horseshoe Vetch)

Goatsbeard - appropriately in the so-called Goat Field


Autumn gentian


At last the warm weather has arrived, and ants have taken advantage, swarming into the air to the delight of the circling swifts.

1 comment:

Tony Morris said...

Hi Steve, most people don't understand the need for management on nature reserves; the Kent Trust gave up the management of Farningham Woods because the local parish council was against coppicing the trees that were in desperate need of it. We need to enlist the Oddies of the world to explain why cutting trees in some places is good and not an act of vandalism.