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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


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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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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