November 2018

As we move into the winter months, we expect to see and hear good numbers of assorted Thrushes using Therfield Heath. Flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares (often mixed) will start appearing and be heard calling from the marginal trees and be seen feeding on the open grassland. These migrants come in search of things like worms and insects on the ground as well as berries and fruit in bushes and trees. On the ground, the Fieldfares are visibly larger than the Redwings and have obviously grey heads. In flight, Fieldfares have a pale grey rump and the Redwings have red patches under their wings. Fieldfares in particular have very distinctive ‘chak-chak’ type calls.

Another thrush that will usually be seen in small flocks feeding in the open grassland areas is the Mistle Thrush. They are larger than the others and paler in colour. They have a rattling call in flight.

With November comes Bonfire Night and we respectfully ask that no fires are lit nor fireworks let loose on Therfield Heath as it is against the Bye Laws.

The Long Barrow is situated on the edge of the 17th fairway near the chair on top of the hill as you walk away from the Heath Sports Club. Here In mid-November, there is due to be an archaeological survey of the long barrow by a team from the University of Leicester, using a variety of geophysical techniques. As soon as we know what they find, we will let you know.

Long barrows were used by Neolithic farming communities for burials. The barrow on Therfield Heath has been damaged by two previous partial excavations – in 1855 and 1935. Modern techniques are rather less intrusive and will not damage the structure.

The long barrow is protected by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979), as are the later round barrow burial mounds seen on Therfield Heath.

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