Malicious act leading to sheep escape

This afternoon the fencing was deliberately taken down and pinned to the ground and the battery was kicked over. This led to the sheep escaping and making their way home across the road. Clearly this is very dangerous for the sheep and for motorists.

Grazing is essential for the maintenance of the grassland of the Heath. If this happens again, the sheep will have to be removed and the condition of the site will worsen.


Circus 27th – 29th Sept

circus poster

John Lawson’s circus is back on Therfield Heath from Friday 27th Sept to Sunday 29th Sept. They will arrive on Thursday and leave on Monday morning.

The show involves performing humans only, no animals. The organisers state that lasers and flashing lights are used in their performances.

“The Multi Award winning John Lawson’s Circus is currently on tour and the 2019 production introduced by Ringmaster Attila Endresz includes, from Italy Clown Rudi, on the Aerial Straps Dream Together, from The Ukraine Gigolino on the comedy trampoline, from The Moscow State Circus Viktor and Julia plate-spinning and amazing uni-cycling, Miss Claire Marie’s Bubble Fantasy, from Spain Keyla Remaches Fabulous Laser Lights Show, teenage Tennis Racket Juggler Rico Brukson, Miss Elena on the Aerial Silks, knife-throwing with The Marshall’s and lots more. “

Shows are at 4.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, 2pm and 5pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets are all £7 on Friday and are £12 for adults or £10 for children /OAPs on Saturday and Sunday. The booking line for tickets is 07860 498833 or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk. The box office will be open on site too.


Volunteer work parties

We intend to run monthly volunteer sessions on a Saturday. The dates for these are 28th Sept, 26th Oct, 23rd Nov.

Also, we are planning to try running some Friday sessions, starting with one a month on 20th Sept, 18th Oct, 15th Nov.

We will be cutting and treating scrub as well as uprooting some of it where possible. We will work in various areas across site.

If you are interested in joining us, or if you would like more information, please get in touch: clerk@therfieldheath.org.uk


Adonis Blue butterflies

August saw some sightings of Adonis Blue butterflies on Therfield Heath. These butterflies haven’t been seen in Hertfordshire since 1959.

It is not clear how they came to be seen on site as they are not a butterfly that travels great distances and their nearest stronghold is some way away. They were not introduced by either the Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens or by Butterfly Conservation. If introduced, it was done illegally and in breach of the SSSI regulations.

“This is a warmth-loving species, preferring sheltered, south-facing slopes. This species is found where the turf is closely-cropped, possibly because it provides a higher temperature for the immature stages or because this is a requirement for the ant species that attend the Adonis Blue larva and pupa. The loss of grazing by rabbits, for example, causes the sward to become overgrown and can render a site unsuitable for this species. ” from UK Butterflies.

For more detailed information on this species, visit Butterfly Conservation.

Adonis Blue by Gary Baker
Adonis Blue by Gary Baker
Adonis Blue by Gary Baker
Adonis Blue by Gary Baker

Dogs & sheep update

Thanks to those of you who kept your dogs on leads during the main ground nesting season.

The sheep are grazing on the eastern side of New Road at the moment. We are hoping to graze some areas just to the west of New Road too. Please ensure your dog is on a lead anywhere near the sheep. Any dogs allowed to worry the sheep not only cause them distress and harm but could be dealt with by the farmer. In addition, it makes the management of the site a lot harder if we cannot get anyone to graze it.

Please remember that there are many users of the site as well as the animals that live there. Always keep your dog under close control.


Ground Nesting Birds

Please be considerate to the ground nesting birds on site by keeping yourselves and your dogs on pathways at all times between 1st March and 31stJuly.

It is really important you don’t allow your dogs to run through the long grass disturbing the birds while they attempt to nest because it reduces their chances of successfully breeding.

It is common practice to request that dogs be on leads on land where birds nest on the ground during their breeding season. Many National Trust, RSPB and Wildlife Trust sites as well as areas such as the Peak District and Malvern Hills put signs up during these times.

On Therfield Heath, the species of concern are Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Grey Partridges. All three species are Birds of Conservation Concern in the UK. Skylarks and Grey Partridges are on the ‘red-list’ (most threatened) and Meadow Pipits on the ‘amber-list’. Please do your bit to help protect these vulnerable species and allow them to flourish in our community. They can only do so if we all take some responsibility for them.