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Hebridean Sheep

Tuesday, June 23rd 2020

The wetland at Foxglove is managed as part of an Environmental Stewardship Agreement with Natural England. The target species for this habitat are waders such as Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe all of which have been present this year. One of the indicators for success is that the sward is kept below a certain height and that the cover of tussocks of grass and sedges is kept below 60% and cover of rushes less than 30%. Natural England advise that the area should be grazed or cut to help achieve these aims. Cutting this area with strimmers is an onerous task and in order to make like easier some Hebridean sheep have been borrowed from Gam Farm in Grassington who support the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The small flock was delivered on Saturday morning and they were keen to explore their new home.

There is one tup and 14 ewes. The tup has long twisted horns and is easy to distinguish from the others, his name is Thor!

The Hebridean is a breed of small black sheep from Scotland similar to other members of the North European short-tailed group, such as the Shetland and North Ronaldsay breeds. They are perfect for the Foxglove wetland as being lightweight, they do minimal damage to pasture even in wet conditions. They are particularly effective at scrub control, having a strong preference for browsing. In addition, their hard black hooves are less susceptible to foot problems. With another spell of hot weather forecast, it was decided that it would be best for the sheep to be sheared. This morning, they were gathered together in a pen which was surprisingly straight forward.

Ian made the shearing look easy and it took less time than anticipated.

Once sheared they looked completely different.

They were not at all fazed by the process and seemed quite content once they were released back into the meadow. 

Our thanks to Gam Farm for loaning us the sheep and to Ian for his hard work clipping them.

We now have a large sack of 15 fleeces, if anyone is interested in this for wool or crafts then please contact one of the Reserve Managers on 07754 270980.


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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


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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