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Wildflower Theft

Friday, July 9th 2021

One of the most spectacular sights at Foxglove during the early summer is the wildflower meadow. This has been carefully manged over several years as a haymeadow. The good news is that due to the hard work of staff and volunteers this area has spread.

Yesterday, Martin Hammond, an Ecologist, surveyed this area on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. He explained that the special mix of Purple Moor Grass with other wildflowers made this an internationally rare habitat and one of European significance in terms of biodiversity 

One of the flowers that flourishes here is Meadowsweet. This pretty flower is a member of the rose family that favours wet habitats, such as ditches and damp meadows. It is the food plant for lots of species of moth caterpillars, and the flowers are visited by many other invertebrates including bees, hoverflies and ladybirds. Once pollinated, each flower develops into a globular fruit with spiral grooves.

The bad news is that hundreds of invertebrates will be deprived of this vital food source this year at Foxglove as sadly many of the flower heads have been deliberately removed by a thief! They haven't just snipped off a few flower heads but they have 'harvested' large swathes of the flowers leaving behind only the stems which are of little value to the wildlife that relies on them.

This is the second year that this crime has taken place and it has happened in more than one place on the reserve. What a great shame it is that notices have had to be put up in the reserve to remind people that it is an offence to pick wildflowers!

You should not pick any plant on a site designated for its conservation interest, such as Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) in Britain and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI's) in Northern Ireland. Permission for picking from these sites requires prior consent from the appropriate statutory conservation agencies (English Nature, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland).

It is illegal to pick, uproot or remove plants if by-laws are in operation which forbid these activities, for example on Nature Reserves, Ministry of Defence property or National Trust land. Foxglove Covert LNR falls into two of these categories!

Extra measures are in now in place to protect the flora from further damage. If you have any information about this crime then please get in touch with the Reserve Managers.


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The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

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Foxglove Covert LNR AGM

Wednesday 26th January 2022 | 7.00pm start

The Annual General Meeting will be held via zoom. Please contact the Reserve Managers if you would like the link to participate.



LANTRA Chainsaw Maintenance, Cross-cutting, Felling and Processing Trees up to 380mm

Monday 31st January 2022 | 5 day course with 8.30 am starts

An opportunity has arisen for 3 people to join this recognised LANTRA course. 

From first cuts to full-on felling, this five-day course will teach you all you need to know about using a chainsaw. This is a hands-on course that delivers both practical skills and health and safety guidance as well as demonstrating that you and your employer have completed sufficient training to meet the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

Booking for this is through KNW Training in Bedale, please contact them for details and costs.



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Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54
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