Shrubs and spuds

Flanders Moss NNR

A brief blog on how potatoes mark the start of Winter for the Stirling NNR team.

A dewy day begins on Flanders Moss.

Our annual gorse-bashing session landed on the brief window of lovely weather last week. Arriving on a rather atmospheric boggy meadow on the edge of Flanders, we got to work on clearing some of the gorse encroachment.

This area is where we get Lesser Butterfly Orchids in the summer! A beautiful, delicate but also sturdy-looking orchid which grows on the lagg fen (bog margin) on the West of Flanders Moss. Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia) is a biodiversity conservation priority species and classed as ‘vulnerable’. So to preserve this population at Flanders, we need to prevent the gorse from taking over this patch.

Lesser butterfly orchids grow on the Lagg Fen – a rare habitat.

Most of the cut brash was tidied up and lobbed on a well-supervised and neatly burning fire, which kept us toasty in-between shifts of sawing, lopping and dragging.

Much like the bog trees, we don’t want to cut back all of the gorse as it serves as good habitat for nesting birds. We clear the gorse in a sort of cycle, leaving last year’s cleared gorse to grow back (and my goodness, it grows back with a vengeance!) while we focused on a more mature patch this year.

Of course, me being the queen of forgetting ‘before’ photos, you’ll have to imagine our clearing efforts.

Much is the tradition, halfway through the day, Steve popped some home-grown tatties into the ash to bake. A well deserved treat for the volunteers, and an event which marks the beginning of the end of the year for us as winter descends!

Enjoying our spud-based picnic after the hard (and spikey) graft.

About Ellie Lawson, NNR Placement

Practical Placement on Stirling's NNRs. Enthusiastic about birds, butterflies, bogs, brochs... and the rest!
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2 Responses to Shrubs and spuds

  1. David McCulloch says:

    The autumn gorse cut is the highlight of my volunteering year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Xmas tree day | 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands

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