Keep on believing Tim

I was encouraged by what I saw on my chilly afternoon walk into our local heathland yesterday afternoon. Regularly walking along the heathland tracks I’ve seen and photographed the growth of invasive vegetation, often saying to myself, “I must do something about it, and ask Surrey Wildlife Trust (managers of the heathland for Surrey Heath Borough Council) to clear the undergrowth to promote the wild flower flowerings”.

I saw that the vegetation in the verges on both sides of the heathland track, from Hangmoor Hill to Folly Bog, had been cut back. You might think it’s nothing important, I can assure you it’s vital to create the space for the flowering of the wild orchids (see my blog posts about them HERE) that grow in the trackside ditches.

The moral is, keep on believing Tim, heathland maintenance will happen. On my next walk I’ll check on the state of the invasive vegetation on the four bronze-age bowl barrows in Brentmoor Heath.

Here’s a photo of the track I took yesterday, showing the verges having been cut back.

Water on the tops of hills still surprises me

Long ago when I was a teenager weekends were spent either rock climbing, potholing or hill rambling. It was when walking over the tops hills that I learned that they can be surprisingly wet, and boggy.

Yesterday I walked on the track alongside Chobham Ridges, as it lies adjacent to the Maultway. It’s there that I see pools of water on the heathland in the Bisley and Pirbright Ranges.

I notice that the pools of water remain for a long time especially when compared to the water in our detention pond in Lightwater, which fills up after heavy rainfall, and soon empties.

Why should this be that the water takes such a long time to drain from the top of Chobham Ridges. I imagine that the ground is not as permeable as the sandy and boggy land below the Ridges, and is most likely to be a kind of hard sandstone. The water does eventually drain away, coming out as springs at the bottom of the Ridges.

Every time I walk on the track next to the Ranges, and when I come up to the part of the Ridges, nearer to the Maultway’s junction with Old Bisley Road, where water is pooling in the ranges that I’m taken back to my youth and relive the time I tramped over wet ground on the tops of hills. Here’s a photo of the pools of water on the top of the Ridges, and a Google map for the springs and streams emanating at the base of the Ridges.

Asking about Folly Bog and Heathland Maintenance Plan

You’ll undoubtedly know, from reading this blog, that I walk over the local heathland for fun and exercise. You’ll also know that I, on occasion, bemoan of its maintenance, probably because I neither know of the maintenance plan or have any understanding of the management priorities. Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on myself here.

The areas that I mostly walk are Folly Bog in Lightwater and Brentmoor Heath in West End. They are owned variously by Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council or by the Ministry of Defence, and the management of this land is provided by Surrey Wildlife Trust. The area of these lands is shown within the area marked black in the map below

On my recent walks I’ve seen the results of maintenance work. Yesterday I encountered some contractors working for Surrey Wildlife Trust removing invasive species from Folly Bog. I, naturally, thanked them for their good work. However, I failed to ask them about their work plan, because I’m too much of a chatty soul. I even walked down into Folly Bog yesterday, it’s very wet and boggy – what did I expect!

On Hangmoor Hill there has been some substantial scrub clearance, alongside the fence to the military land and on Hangmoor Hill itself, which is good, as it’s another route down into the bog. All fine and dandy.

Yet, and it’s an important yet, the trackside ditches on Hangmoor Hill, where the wild orchids flower, remain uncleared, with the scrub taking over and crowding out the space for the orchids. Also, the scrub remains covering the four bronze-age bowl barrows in Brentmoor Heath, making identification of their existence near impossible.

So, I’m resolved to speak to Surrey Wildlife Trust to ask for sight of their Heathland Maintenance Plan. Here are some photos of the recent work done to the area.

 

Toadstools in abundance under birch trees

Perhaps more abundant than I remember seeing them in previous years, Toadstools, whose proper name is Fly Agaric, and botanical name is Amanita muscaria, are common at this time of year.

They are easy to recognise. Beginning as hemispherical they later flatten out. Heavy rain washes off the white scales. While easy to recognise they are poisonous and will cause severe health problems when eaten in large quantities.

Here are three photos of toadstools, one found in the heathland, and two of them under a mature birch tree in urban Lightwater. I’m grateful to a friend for the photos in the grass under a tree.

 

Gulls and a Grey Heron enjoy the receding water of the detention pond

I visited, as promised, Lightwater’s detention pond yesterday afternoon. I found the water level seriously reduced, though not enough for a single Grey Heron and some Common Gulls to have a splash about and a, fruitless, search for food.

In one photo you can see the inlet to the pond, and in the distance the structure which is the outlet. Here are the photos of my visit. Enough, I think, for now about detention ponds.

Mark asks, where is the detention pond?

A reader asks, “Where is the detention pond in Lightwater?” A reasonable question since the dry detention pond is normally dry and only fills up when needed to¬†hold over-flow water temporarily, until it drains into another location.

The pond was built at the same time as all the new housing estates in Lightwater alongside Red Road. In the map below, the green triangle in the centre is the dry detention pond. It lies adjacent to Red Road with its junction with Lightwater Road. Hope this helps.