Scratched and bloodied in re-opening the path to Folly Bog

I say that I was bloodied in re-opening the path to Folly Bog. I massively overstate the amount of blood, it was a couple of small pricks from the gorse that drew blood.

A couple of days ago, here, I said secateurs were needed to regain access to Folly Bog. Yesterday I took secateurs and a pair of thick gloves to the task to re-opening the path. The gloves are worn out in a couple of fingers, hence pricks from the gorse drawing blood.

I’ll report of what I found down in Folly Bog in a later article. Meanwhile, here are the photos on before and after. Re-opening the path isn’t the answer to the meaning of life, I’m just happy to be able to visit the bog again.

Secateurs needed to regain access to Folly Bog

Getting down to Folly Bog from the track alongside Red Road is not everyone’s idea of fun. It is mine.

So, I’m frustrated that the spiky gorse, bracken and other vegetation seem to have closed off the path down to Folly Bog. I say path, it’s never been quite that, but a narrow gap between the plants

I like seeing the Early Marsh Orchid, Sundews, and bog plants up close.

Native wild orchids bloom in Folly Bog, and alongside the heathland track

Yesterday, I was happy to see the wild orchids in bloom in Folly Bog, and those at the edges of the track running alongside the fence line of the Bisley & Pirbright ranges.

The variability in the appearance of native orchids, through natural hybridisation, makes identification a bit of a nightmare. I think my identification is probably correct. At the track edge you’ll find the Heath Spotted Orchid. They have heavily mottled leaves. Their flower colour range is variable, from dark pink to white.

To see the other orchid variety – the Early Marsh Orchid – you’ll have to venture down from the track into Folly Bog. While it’s not too boggy at the moment, a few more days of heavy rain can make a big difference. Here are my photos: from left to right, orchids alongside the heathland track, the Heath Spotted, and the Early Marsh Orchid – click on images to expand.

Should you want to read about my travails, over the years, in identifying local native orchids, type the word orchid into the search box at the top right of the page.

Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger spring update for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog

The entrances to the heathland off Red Road, and into Brentmoor Heath display a Spring update notice from Ben Habgood, the Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. He can be contacted at

In Ben’s Spring update notice he mentions to be on the lookout for orchids, which he says can be seen from mid-May onwards. I walked on the track alongside Folly Bog yesterday and found no evidence of their arrival. But then I’m no botanist. I’ll make a trip down to Folly Bog and see I can spot signs of the Early Marsh Orchid.

I think nature is a bit late this year. Our large camellia has only recently ended its flowering. In the past it’s finished its flowering in January.  [Click on the image to expand].

Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog Ranger posts his Spring notes

The Surrey Wildlife Trust Ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog – Ben Habgood [] – has posted his Ranger’s notes for Spring 2017 on the kissing gates leading into Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. Here they are below [click on image to enlarge],

Scrunching and munching on a grand scale

When Speedicus Triplicatum reported, in a comment, about the scale of scrub clearance in our local heathland, I had to see for myself what he describes as the result of scrunchy-munchy machines.

Wrapping up warm – I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many layers of clothing, so I’m not going to – I ventured out for a longish expedition to see the extent of the scrub clearance.

Speedicus is correct. The work is extensive. It pleasingly restores the views over heathland from the various heathland paths. No more walking through corridors of gorse and saplings. Click on images to enlarge.

View over Folly Bog restored after scrub removal

Wow, I hadn’t expected the scrub and gorse removal [as promised by Ben Habgood, Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger] alongside the track by Folly Bog to be done around the Christmas period.

On a short constitutional walk yesterday I came by the area cleared of scrub. A huge and worthwhile improvement. The view over Folly Bog is restored. No longer a walk through a corridor of encroaching gorse, alder, willow, and grasses blocking the view over the bog. I’ve evidence that this was last done in 2010. Amazing how fast nature can take over.

Here’s my photo of 2010 showing the machinery, then two on my walk yesterday.