All posts by David

Sheep Present on the Reserve

We would like to provide a reminder that the sheep are again present on the reserve. These animals provide a very special service in helping to manage the reserve to encourage the profusion of flora and fauna we see during the spring and summer. Those who took part in the Ragwort pulling will testify that  keeping the vegetation under control would be a far more difficult task without them. In the past few years we have not had any serious incidents between dogs and sheep although a few incidents of disturbance and distress have been noted. We would therefore kindly remind all dog owners to continue to keep their dogs under strict control at all times whilst on the reserve and it is essential that, however well behaved they are, they are kept on leads in the paddock where the sheep are present. This helps ensure the sheep remain stress free and can continue to help manage the reserve for the benefit and enjoyment of all.


Bat Walk and Talk – 26th September

As the summer comes to an end and the flowers and butterfly displays finish for 2015 we have an opportunity to look for some of the other wildlife present on and around the reserve. Subject to appropriate weather on the day the Bat Walk and Talk on the reserve is now scheduled for Saturday 26th September meeting at the main car park at 6:30pm (One advantage of the later date is an earlier start!). As usual for these events there will be a £2.00 charge for non-members but it is free for members. Please do register your interest by e-mailing so we can keep you updated on any necessary changes. IMG_6468

Additional Ragwort Pulling – Thursday 6th August

For those who missed out on a slightly damp morning on 26th July Tim has kindly arranged a second opportunity to help keep this invasive weed under control and get close to the wildlife on the reserve.

All welcome to join us this event is free to everyone. Meet at the main car park at 9am or join us on the reserve during the morning.

Man Orchid Count (Interim Report)

© Petersrockypics
© Petersrockypics

A big thank you to all those who turned out last Saturday 30th May to look for small green flowers in the green grass! Despite the challenge and with the help of good weather the totals so far for this year are as follows:

Compartment 1 (SW) – 251 (161 for this compartment last year)

Compartment 2 (NW) – 292

Compartment 3 (NE) – still to be surveyed

Compartment 4 (SE) – 79

Compartment 6 (N) – 1

NB Compartment 5 is the designation for the road side verge

Total to date : 623 (Estimate circa 650+ once compartment 3 completed)

This compares to 184-2013 and 1,027 – 1998 the latest two comparable whole site surveys. We wait to see if the fixed plot surveys support these encouraging signs of an increased population after many years of low numbers.  Fixed point  Man Orchid count data from 1997 to 2014.

19th June Event – Glow Worm Walk

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Our second event in June is the annual Glow worm walk. Chris Gardiner of Natural England will be leading the annual Glow worm walk. Again we will meet up in the Main car park but obviously a late start 21:30 on Friday 19th June. This is planned to last between 11/2 and 2 hours and will be free to members and at a small charge of £2:00 for non-members. Please do let us know if you would like to attend to help with planning by e-mailing and if not already a member please consider joining (£5 per year – and enjoy free events throughout the year, learning more about this National Nature Reserve.

Guided Wildflower Walk – 6th June

On Saturday the 6th June there will be a guided Wildflower walk starting off from the main car park off Wittering Road at 10:30. This will help those of us who enjoy the fantastic display of wildflowers present on the reserve put names to them and learn more about the site’s importance for certain red list species (see science article to find out more about the red list). The walk is planned to last between 11/2 and 2 hours and will be free to members and at a small charge of £2.00 for non-members. Please do let us know if you would like to attend to help with planning by e-mailing

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May Event – “Man Orchid Hunt”

© Petersrockypics
© Petersrockypics

The May event is free for all to attend and is part of the ongoing monitoring programme on the reserve. Each year since 1977 there have been surveys of the flora and fauna on the reserve and this is an opportunity for you to contribute to this data set. On Saturday 30th May there will be a count of the number of Man Orchid flower spikes on the reserve. Those who attended last year’s rather wet survey managed to locate 161 spikes in compartment one (south west quadrant). If you would like to join in this years survey then you are welcome to just turn up at the main car park at 10:00am but if you can let us know ( that you will be attending that will help with planning the survey area.

Basic Introduction to Wildflower Photography


With the Pasque flowers in full bloom and the first early orchid reported we will be running a workshop to provide an introduction to the basic techniques of wildflower photography.  This is aimed at beginner and intermediate level to help you capture all the spring and summer flowers present on the reserve. The event will be held (weather permitting) in the morning of Saturday 16th May. This will be a small workshop group so please do register your interest ( as soon as possible to receive further details.

Margaret Palmer will join us to identify the flowers that we find.

The Big Spring Watch

With the first Pasque Flower of the season seen on the reserve during my visit on Tuesday this week spring is well on its way. For those who saw “Springwatch at Easter” on BBC the reserve provides an opportunity to participate in their survey as all five signs of spring can be seen on the reserve. Please feel free to e-mail me at with your sightings on the reserve of the English Oak coming into leaf, Hawthorn in flower, seven spot ladybirds, Orange tip butterflies and of course the arrival of the first Swallow. See for more national information.