Our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation More details

Our response to COVID-19

Friday, May 22nd 2020

The reserve is beginning to re - open gradually and is there to be enjoyed but the need for rigid bio-security measures and a common sense approach to the health requirements of all who visit really must be understood. All are welcome but the availability of facilities is likely to change on an irregular basis and everyone is asked to be patient in such circumstances, to read the interim notices, and consider the reasons why. The Field Centre (Toilets and Kitchen) may not be open – please bring your own hand sanitiser, food and refreshments.

The welfare and well-being of anyone associated with Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve is the absolute top priority of the Management Group and Staff.  Access to the reserve and the observance of the government rules by all who visit is mandatory and must be complied with minimising the risk to all comers.

For the time being if you do not have a military pass or a Foxglove Pass then please liaise with the Reserve Managers to arrange a visit.

Within these parameters please enjoy your visit and remember that it is your responsibility to follow the new guidance on staying safe outside your home.

We are very grateful to all of our supporters for helping us work through these plans, and for their continued loyal support. 

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Bluebells, Bogbean and Betty’s Benches

Friday, May 22nd 2020

Bluebells always flower late at Foxglove because it is high above sea level. They are an indicator of ancient woodland and grow all around the reserve. This bank in the woodland is managed especially for them.

They are also abundant on the moorland where trees once stood.


In the scrapes, Bogbean has been in flower for a while. The starry, white flowers are a pretty sight. It is an aquatic perennial which blooms from March until June. Its common name comes from the leaves, which are shaped a little like those of broad beans!

Staff have been busy arranging the picnic benches to accomodate the new ones that were kindly donated by Bettys Tearooms. For a short while, it looked as though Gerry and Ian were playing a game of giant Jenga on the front lawn!

The new benches are all in place now and are a welcome addition to the visitor facilities.

Our thanks to Bettys!

The wildlife has been enjoying an undisturbed few weeks, this toad was discovered wandering alongside one of the footpaths today!

The reserve is beginning to re- open gradually and is there to be enjoyed but the need for rigid bio-security measures and a common sense approach to the health requirements of all who visit really must be understood. All are welcome but the availability of facilities is likely to change on an irregular basis and everyone is asked to be patient in such circumstances, to read the interim notices, and consider the reasons why. The Field Centre (Toilets and Kitchen) may not be open – please bring your own hand sanitiser, food and refreshments.

The welfare and well-being of anyone associated with Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve is the absolute top priority of the Management Group and Staff.  Access to the reserve and the observance of the government rules by all who visit is mandatory and must be complied with minimising the risk to all comers.

For the time being if you do not have a military pass or a Foxglove Pass then please liaise with the Reserve Managers to arrange a visit.

Within these parameters please enjoy your visit and remember that it is your responsibility to follow the new guidance on staying safe outside your home.

We are very grateful to all of our supporters for helping us work through these plans, and for their continued loyal support. 

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Small Nestbox Monitoring

Wednesday, May 20th 2020


There are over one hundred small nestboxes at Foxglove and each of them are checked by the birdringers in the spring. The first 'round' of checks has been carried out this week and there has been quite a good take up.

It is a huge task and has taken several days to complete. 

In most cases tiny, young chicks were found snug in their lined nests. These newly hatched ones were still blind and without any feathers at all.

Blue Tits and Great Tits line their mossy nests with wool and hair. The ones pictured here are just beginning to grow some feathers. 

In a few cases the young birds were completely feathered and almost ready to fledge. There seem to be more Blue Tits than Great Tits this year (last year the balance was tipped the other way) and the Great Tits seem to be further developed with several clutches ready to fly like the ones pictured below.

Some nests still contained eggs too. The nests with eggs and small chicks will be returned to over the coming weeks so that the nestlings can be ringed. All of this data is submitted to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) as part of their Nest Record Scheme. Their data are used to assess the impacts that changes in the environment, such as habitat loss and global warming, have on the number of fledglings that birds can rear. The boxes are also part of an Adopt-a-Box scheme and sponsors will receive a letter later in the year about the 2020 breeding season. This scheme gives people the opportunity to sponsor nest boxes and bat boxes on the reserve and was set up to help us raise vital funds for our conservation efforts.

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Owl Update

Saturday, May 16th 2020

This year seems to have been a good one for Tawny Owls. Boxes that have been visited by the bird ringers have had healthy well fed chicks. Most of these will be fledging in a few weeks time.

An interesting find was a Little Owl nest with eggs, the first one that the team have come across in the last five years. 

The enduring harsh winter weather five years ago took it's toll on this species and their numbers dwindled significantly. Here's hoping that this is the start of a noticeable recovery.

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Valued Support

Wednesday, May 13th 2020

The bright spikes of Early Purple Orchids are starting to pop up all over the reserve. The bank that is managed especially for them by clearing the brambles in the autumn, is now full of these striking flowers.

They seem to be a little later than in previous years but are in good numbers.

The area of Blackthorn that was cleared by volunteers including staff and students from Risedale Sports and Community College and Mowbray School has been transformed. This patch was thick with prickly Blackthorn and took a lot of effort to clear. Here is a photograph of the regular conservation volunteer group from earlier in the year (before social distancing came in) having opened up a clearing.

Now, in the same spot, ferns are unfurling in the additional sunlight.

Wild Garlic has spread here too.

There are even a few orchids growing!

Volunteer help is really valued at Foxglove where people get involved in all kinds of ways. Even during this difficult time, people have continued to support the reserve in different ways. A lovely surprise last week was a delivery of some new wooden displays for the Field Centre that Bob had kindly crafted whilst staying at home.

These replace shabby old cardboard ones and have given the foyer a much needed lift. They are really appreciated.

The money donated to Foxglove by the Hunton Steam Gathering Committee at the start of March has been spent on new and much needed tools this week.

These were collected yesterday and will make a huge difference to the management of the habitats. The Management Group members and Reserve Managers are extremely grateful for this generous gift. Our thanks to Ian who nominated the registered charity for this donation and to the HSG Committee members for selecting Foxglove alongside a staggering thirteen other charities to benefit from their hard work.

Finally, the reserve remains closed this week but with Government and MOD advice it is hoped that it may be able to open again in some capacity soon. Please keep an eye both on here and on social media for any updates. 

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Help Support Foxglove

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

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

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

Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

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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Undergrowth Newsletter




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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