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Heathland Management

Tuesday, August 27th 2019

Heathland is an important piece of the 'habitat jigsaw' at Foxglove. This year the Heather is spectacular and is one of the reasons for a new moth species being discovered last weekend.

The bright purple flowers are important for all kinds of invertebrates including ladybirds, bees and butterflies. There ares still many butterflies on the wing, the most common one this week is the Peacock which is often feeding on Devil's Bit Scabious amongst the Heather.

Due to its small size, the Heathland at Foxglove is difficult to manage. There isn't enough space to have a controlled fire as there is on the Grouse Moors nearby. The burning of Heather encourages new growth and helps to keep out unwanted species. The Exmoor ponies, Lark and Taurus, have grazed on the Heathland for a few days but they didn't eat the Silver Birch or Willow. Instead, much of this has been taken out over recent weeks by a method known as 'tree popping'. Staff and volunteers have used special tools known as a tree 'poppers' to lever out the unwanted saplings by their roots.

This has been done in all kinds of weather conditions from red hot sunshine to heavy rain and sometimes required digging with spades too.

It has been hard work but is good to look back and see the difference that has been made. It is also extremely satisfying when a large root comes up intact!

Thank you to everyone who has helped with this task so far, it is both strenuous and tedious but the results make it worthwhile. There is still more to be done. The hay meadow has now been cut and finally, the Exmoor ponies have been allowed into this area to 'tidy up the edges' and hopefully eat the grass that the tractor couldn't reach. Lark was first through the gate!

Swiftly followed by Taurus!


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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


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The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn.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.



Family Pond Dipping 1 - FULLY BOOKED!

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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