Ashlawn Cutting – September 2020

Let in the light

Our work in the cutting during this month has focused on two key activities:

  • Grass cutting
  • Letting in the light around the frog breeding pool

The grass and other vegetation is cut down along the verges and throughout most of the open grasslands within the reserve. The cut material is raked off, to minimise nutrient retention. Wild flowers and grasses don’t want luxury living! This work takes place over several months in the autumn and early winter

To maintain the diversity of nature within the reserve, we need to take control of the tree and scrub growth. It may seem an unwelcome activity to be taking down trees, but it is essential to maintain a balance. Unchecked, the entire reserve would ultimately be tree covered and many species of flora and fauna would no longer be present. Light, and the warmth that comes with it is essential for the diversity of wildlife to survive and thrive.

The picture gallery shows where cutting of the verges and cut-back of willow has been made around the frog pool that lies south of the old station platform, alongside the main pathway. By annual cutting. the verges will over time produce a more diverse mix of wild flower with each growing season. The frog pool will be open to more warming from the sun’s rays, to support the annual frog breeding. The cut wood is put to use in dead hedging around the frog pool. A dead hedge is also a valuable habitat. It has a secondary benefit in this location of reducing dog incursion into the frog pool, whish is especially important during the breeding season.

The Rotary club have also been working within the WWT section of the Great Central Way, in addition to their work in the section between Hillmorton Road and Abbey Street. They have made a clearing alongside the old railyard wall opposite the frog pool and placed a section of rail track. This will give a reminder of the origins of the site. It also has a wildlife benefit. It is allowing more light to reach the platform pool and one the track has been ballasted, it creates a new composition for wild plants to discover and populate.

The pictures have all been provided by Ken Monk, one of the key volunteers on the reserve. There are even some experiments with infra-red images. Enjoy!