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Toad in the Hole

Thursday, October 11th 2012

This morning was spent building a hibernaculum at the outdoor classroom.  Hibernacula are habitats designed to give ideal conditions for hibernating animals over the winter months.  There is high variation in the temperature of the soil over the course of day and night, dependant on weather and air temperature.  Our hibernaculum is dug down into the earth, to provide an environment with stable, frost-free temperatures and protection from predators.

Here is our step-by-step guide to building your own - for amphibians it will need to be south facing and no further than 200m from a pond or stream.

Step 1

Dig a hole 3ft across and just over 2ft deep (make sure there are no water pipes or cables in the area you plan to use!).  Pile the soil and grass nearby ready to cover the structure when finished.

Step 2

Add 4-6 inches of gravel to the bottom of the hole to aid drainage.

Step 3

Rocks, plant pots and logs can be used to create chambers.  Almost anything can be considered as long as it is not too tightly packed and the gaps between are not too large. The idea is to create small chambers that will remain moist and at a constant temperature.  If the gaps are big the temperature will fluctuate too much; if the chambers are tightly packed the animals won't be able to find their way in.

Step 4

The top and any large gaps should be loosely packed with twigs, branches and leaf mould which will act as insulation.

Step 5

Logs should be piled over the top to prevent the soil washing down into the cavities.  At this point an old drain pipe can be installed as the entrance to the hibernaculum.

Step 6

Cover over with soil and don't be too concerned if a few logs are sticking out when you have finished!

Replace the grass and make sure the entrance is still clear!

Finally, sit back and wait for the hibernating animals to come flocking in. We hope newts, frogs, toads, lizards, mice and voles will use ours!  Below is the finished hibernaculum near to the bug hotel at the outdoor classroom.


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Damsels and Dragons CANCELLED

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

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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.

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Wednesday 22nd July 2020 | 45 minute sessions on the hour

Come along and find out which animals are living in some of the Foxglove ponds. Book a pond dipping session for your family bubble of up to six people. There will be a socially distanced brief to set you off and then you can use the equipment for the remainder of the session. You will be requested to use hand gel on arrival and the net handles will be cleaned between sessions. Please call the Reserve Managers on 07754 270980 to book your allocated slot. You are advised to arrive 15 minutes before your allocated time. A donation in advance (card payment by phone) of £5 per family bubble is required in order to secure your booking. 



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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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