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January Worky Day

Saturday, January 6th 2018

Although the freezing wind from the North was not as cold as anticipated, the water temperature in the Wetland ponds was too low for anyone to work in them, so the alternative tasks highlighted yesterday were put into operation.  Sixteen volunteers were out today and made an excellent contribution to managing some of the Reserve's habitats.

The volunteers split into three groups.  One group moved to the Heathland to scatter the three bags of heather seed taken from the North Pennines.  The Heathland is predomiantly the common Heather or Ling (Calluna vulgaris), and the seed contained this and one of the Erica species.  Ideally, the Heathland should contain both Erica species found in the Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and the North York Moors, Bell Heather (Erica cinerea) and Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix).  By scattering the seed this should diversify the heathland plant community.

Each of the heathland sections was further divided using tape so that the seed in each bag could be shared to give the same coverage of seed in each area.  This was particularly important in those areas where there was little or no heather growing, while a more random pattern was used to fill in gaps among the taller heather.

The seed was broadcast by hand, and is so fine that it had to be released very close to the ground to make sure that the wind could not take it too far.  After a while, we became quite proficient in using the wind to help get a good spread.  We will need to go back into the heathland during this week to cut the Birch and Willow that is growing there together with the small patches of Gorse remaining after Lark and Taurus had been there.  This will help work some of the Heather seed into the ground so that we will have a mix of seed on the surface and in the soil which should give a good chance for it to grow.

Another group went to the bullet catcher to burn the cuttings that had been left there from previous work.  Given how wet it had been in the last few days, lighting a fire was easier said than done, and it took the best part of the morning session to get the fire going.

But once it did get going, we were well away and all the cuttings that had built up over the last few months were burnt, together with rotten timber that could no longer be used around the reserve.  Care was taken with the fire to keep it sufficiently small not to cause heat damage to the surrounding trees.

The third group completed the Gorse clearance job near to Hague Bridge.  One side of the footpath still needed the Gorse to be cleared and there were other small patches which, when cut, would add to those removed just over a week ago.  All of this was then also burnt, leaving a much more open area amongst the trees.

This was a really good day's work, with all of the work targets achieved, and everyone both enjoying themselves and feeling that a good job had been done.  A big thank you to all the volunteers today for a huge effort which has made a significant contribution to managing the reserve's habitats.

Doing these tasks rather than the ponds proved a good decision - a final quick job was to unblock the inlet to the Vole Ponds, and, although this only took 10 seconds, it took a lot longer for hands to warm up again!


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Friends of Foxglove

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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Upcoming Events


Meadow Mayhem CANCELLED

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn. For up to date information this website, FaceBook and other forms of social media should be consulted. If you have donated in advance to secure a place on an event you will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Celebrate National Meadows Day!

Join us for a morning exploring the many wildflower meadows found at Foxglove. We will be learning how to ID wildflowers and grasses, as well as sweep netting for butterflies and insects and identifying them. This event is part of the Flowers of the Dales Festival

A minimum donation of £5 per person in advance to guarantee a place. Card payments can be taken by phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



Damsels and Dragons CANCELLED

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn. For up to date information this website, FaceBook and other forms of social media should be consulted. If you have donated in advance to secure a place on an event you will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly? Can you tell the difference between the different species of blue damselfly? Would you like to learn more about theses fascinating animals that have been around since prehistoric times? Join Keith Gittens for a walk around the beautiful Foxglove ponds (some of which are usually out of bounds to visitors) and observe as many different species as you can. Last year, a new species for the reserve was discovered on this event!

Booking is essential as places are limited. There is a donation of £5 per person to be paid in advance in order to secure a place. Payments now can be made on the phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



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The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert
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This book has been published with the aim of enabling people visiting these, immensely important Flagship Pond Sites in North Yorkshire, to identify the dragonflies and damselflies they encounter - by reference to a simple text and photographs. Credits - Yorkshire Dragonfly Group & Freshwater Habitats Trust

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