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Wildflower Theft

Friday, July 9th 2021

One of the most spectacular sights at Foxglove during the early summer is the wildflower meadow. This has been carefully manged over several years as a haymeadow. The good news is that due to the hard work of staff and volunteers this area has spread.

Yesterday, Martin Hammond, an Ecologist, surveyed this area on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council. He explained that the special mix of Purple Moor Grass with other wildflowers made this an internationally rare habitat and one of European significance in terms of biodiversity 

One of the flowers that flourishes here is Meadowsweet. This pretty flower is a member of the rose family that favours wet habitats, such as ditches and damp meadows. It is the food plant for lots of species of moth caterpillars, and the flowers are visited by many other invertebrates including bees, hoverflies and ladybirds. Once pollinated, each flower develops into a globular fruit with spiral grooves.

The bad news is that hundreds of invertebrates will be deprived of this vital food source this year at Foxglove as sadly many of the flower heads have been deliberately removed by a thief! They haven't just snipped off a few flower heads but they have 'harvested' large swathes of the flowers leaving behind only the stems which are of little value to the wildlife that relies on them.

This is the second year that this crime has taken place and it has happened in more than one place on the reserve. What a great shame it is that notices have had to be put up in the reserve to remind people that it is an offence to pick wildflowers!

You should not pick any plant on a site designated for its conservation interest, such as Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) in Britain and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI's) in Northern Ireland. Permission for picking from these sites requires prior consent from the appropriate statutory conservation agencies (English Nature, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland).

It is illegal to pick, uproot or remove plants if by-laws are in operation which forbid these activities, for example on Nature Reserves, Ministry of Defence property or National Trust land. Foxglove Covert LNR falls into two of these categories!

Extra measures are in now in place to protect the flora from further damage. If you have any information about this crime then please get in touch with the Reserve Managers.


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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


Owl Pellet Discovery

Monday 26th July 2021 | 10.00am start

Come and learn all about the different  owl species that live in North Yorkshire. Find out what they eat by dissecting their pellets and identifying the contents.  Recommended for ages 7 years upwards. 

Booking is essential as places are limited.

Suggested minimum donation of £2.50 per person. Please donate in advance to secure a place.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



Family Pond Dipping 1

Wednesday 28th July 2021 | 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. 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. 

Booking is essential. 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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Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54
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Find out what has been going on at the reserve during the lockdown!

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