August 2018

The latest update from The Conservators of Therfield Heath & Greens finds us in the height of summer having had most of June and July without rainwater. This has had a major effect on the grasses which like everyone’s garden has turned brown and the ground under foot is very hard and is a potential fire hazard.
The lighting of fires is a criminal offence and is liable for prosecution and common sense would suggest that any naked flame is dangerous on such dry ground and we prefer not to have even more signs out to spoil the view.
It’s been a fabulous year for butterflies so far on the Heath – with good showings of Chalkhill Blues, Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites and many more. We have seen many Lizards but none as big as the nesting Monitor Lizards found in the woods which caused the RSPCA to be called out. A big thank you goes to the keen eyes of the dog walkers who are our eyes and ears.
With the summer holidays well under way people using the Heath for picnics need to be considerate of where they are and please make sure you take your rubbish home with you. It costs the Conservators 7.5k PA to remove rubbish and dog bins.
A few instances of holes being dug & BBQs being lit up on Church Hill means we politely ask that no one picnic here as it is the most important & ecologically sensitive nature area for rare flora on the whole Heath. There are of course plenty of other places on the Heath to enjoy the views and have a picnic
The signs placed to protect the ground nesting birds on Lankester Hill have now been removed. Both the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks had a successful breading season and we thank everybody for their consideration.
Meanwhile the hot weather delayed the introduction of the Sheep until July and they have not been very happy up on Penn Hill (map included) In fact the owner has had four occasions where the sheep have been disturbed and broken from their enclosure and meant that they were removed for their safety until further notice.
We will keep you up-to-date with their whereabouts via The Listing, the map on the Heath Sports Club our website and social media.
Our next volunteer task will be ragwort pulling, as agreed with Natural England. Ragwort is deemed harmful and we have a duty to keep it under control and not to allow it to spread. We will not aim to eradicate it because it is not without its ecological benefits and we won’t remove those that are already being eaten by caterpillars. Please remember, it is an offence for anyone to pick or uproot any plant on Therfield Heath unless prior agreement is obtained from Natural England.
Finally, The Friends of Therfield Heath & Greens championed by Rod Kennedy have met and appointed a committee. They will be launching at the Kite Festival on August 5th and will be looking to recruit volunteers who are passionate about the future of Therfield Heath, so please come along and say hello to the team.

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