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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 23rd July 2014
Bugs Bottom, Gravel Hill, Emmer Green ~ Ragwort pulling

It was CROW's first visit to the site since they completed laying a hedge there early in 2013.

The task gave an opportunity to see how well the laid hedge was doing. While there are signs of strong regrowth, the surrounding vegetation made it difficult to judge overall progress.

Note: The hedge that was laid is at the edge of the grassland along the site's boundary with Gravel Hill. This hedge is a relatively new addition, between it and the Gravel Hill lane there is the remains of a much older hedge which has been coppiced in order that it may regenerate, this to is showing signs of strong regrowth.

Ragwort pulling is not a task in which CROW normally participates as the plant has a wildlife value including being the primary food source of the cinnabar moth caterpillar.

By coffee time we had cleared the area next to the laid hedge but the justification for the task was being questioned because of the presence of a number of cinnabar caterpillars (which were relocated to other ragwort off site) and also because of the amount of ragwort on the adjacent farmland. After some discussion the task came to an early end. We subsequently learned that the primary reason for the removal of the ragwort is to satisfy a condition of the funding received for the management of the site.

Lesson learned: Always insure volunteers are fully informed when undertaking any task which may be contentious.

Thanks to everyone who came along, Alan, Barry, Bob, Cathy, Chris, John, Judith, Marcus, Mike, Peter and Trish.

Created: Saturday, 26th July 2014
Photographs: Cathy Holwill