Volunteers Enchanted by Nightshade at Rushmoor Bottom

Last Tuesday we had a fantastic volunteer turn out for our annual hay cut of the wet meadow glade in Rushmoor Bottom. Glades and rides in woodlands provide a diversity of habitat particularly good for butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles. This glade is delightful in the summer months when the small but beautiful flower Enchanter’s Nightshade can be found bordering it’s edge.

enchanters nightshade

Enchanter’s Nightshade

The annual hay cut provides several functions. The first is keeping the glade open by clearing sapling and scrub. The other is to enhance the grasslands abundance of wildflowers.

 

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Before

By cutting the grass in mid summer and raking off the cutting we deplete the nutrients returned to the soil. The nutrient poor soil is just right for native wildflowers which are declining due to modern management techniques that use lots of fertilizer and regular cutting. As the hay cutting technique is repeated over the years the site will become more and more suitable for widlflowers.

 

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After

In order to maintain the glades maximum diversity we left scalloped wet edges uncut. These scallop shaped sections were dominated by rushes and sedges which were better left to provide dense cover for invertebrates and amphibians.

 

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Clear entrance

 

Not content with finishing the whole glade the volunteers also cut back the overgrown entrance and installed a bin in the Rushmoor Bottom car park.

Thank you to everyone who devoted their time!

Ast. Ranger Jenny

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About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
This entry was posted in Aldershot Urban Extension, Conservation, Volunteers, Wellesley Woodlands, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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