September 2018

The Kite Festival was a huge success in searing heat, yet the Heath was very busy with a reported 6k people coming to see the annual spectacular. The Friends of The Heath also attended the Festival and got some great feedback and recruited volunteers, they will be reporting elsewhere in the Listing. Well done Rotary for again organising such a great event and for the huge team effort to clear up so quickly, Thank you to all who helped.

At last a few showers, is there such a thing as the correct rain? Well yes the gentle downpours in mid August were beneficial. This has helped the grasses to recover slowly and remove any potential fire hazard. The natural life-cycle of grasses sees the stems die and go brown as their seed ripens. The dry weather adds a stress which can hurry this process up. It is, however, completely natural for the Heath to go brown, just not necessarily so early in the season. There could be a knock-on effect in availability of seed food for birds later in the season: seeds may be smaller and may drop sooner.

The sheep are still being kept off the Heath south of Penn Hill at the time of going to press. 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.

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. A few dedicated volunteers conduct regular butterfly surveys on the Heath and we await their results with interest.

A volunteer group conducted Ragwort pulling over the summer, as agreed with Natural England. We did not aim to eradicate it because it is not without its ecological benefits and we didn’t remove those that were 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.

September should see a cut and collect on Lankester Hill as the second best option to grazing, as discussed with Natural England.

If you are interested in volunteering on Therfield Heath, please contact Cynthia. c.combe@therfieldheath.org.uk www.therfieldheath.org.uk

Enquiries maybe directed to clerk@therfieldheath.org.uk