The floral joys of Folly Bog in Lightwater

Mostly I begin and end my walks over the heathland passing by Folly Bog.

Folly Bog is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of its owners, the Ministry of Defence. It is included in their Brentmoor Heath management programme, in which they’ve introduced autumn cattle grazing onto Folly Bog. Folly Bog is designated as SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest] by Natural England, within their Colony Bog and Bagshot classification. See HERE for detailed paper on the subject.

As we’ve not had heavy rain recently I chanced a trip down into the bog to observe the flora close up. Hopefully, my photos [apologies for photographer being in shot] in the slide show huge variety of plants hosted by the bog. The notable ones are:

  • Common cottongrass is characteristic of British peat bogs, which has tufts of what looks like pure white cotton-wool. The fluffy heads were once used for making candle wicks, and for stuffing pillows and mattresses.
  • Round-leaved sundew is a plant that feeds on insects, using its leaves to catch them. The leaf is covered with a multitude of red hairs each tipped with a glistening droplet. Midges are attracted to these, mistaking them for water in which to lay their eggs. Once they touch the sticky droplets they’re caught, and the leaf then curls inwards to devour them.
  • Bog asphodel produces bright yellow flowers in July and August.  Towards late August and into autumn the seed capsules, stems and leaves turn from green to orange. These bright orange stems of seeds are quite striking against the greens and browns of the bog.

There are a number of wayside plants that I recognise. I have to admit being stumped on recognising bog plants. It took me quite a while of research to identify the autumnal form of Bog asphodel. Now I know. I just hope I’ll be able to remember their names in the future. I might see if I can identify a few more species at a later date.

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