Since our last update the group has been busy carrying out scheduled tasks across the local area. Despite the particularly bad weather during the early summer our band of volunteers have managed to remain cheerful and positive.
Tanyard Pond has received a good tidy up, local fields around Langshott and the Acres have been targeted for Ragwort pulling and various riverside locations have had visits from the group in order to clear invasive Himalayan Balsam.
The intention behind the Ragwort pulling activity was to try and protect cattle and horses that are or will be grazing those areas in the future. Ragwort is poisonous to cattle and horses and so pulling the entire plant (including roots) may provide lasting benefit. It goes without saying that pulling the plants is only really a practical option when plant numbers are low. Cutting at the early flower stage may reduce seed production but can stimulate the growth of sideshoots, resulting in more vigorous growth in the following year. Any cut or pulled plants should be removed and burnt.
Himalayan Balsam is a relative of the busy Lizzie, but reaches well over head height, and is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land, but can also invade gardens. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds. These are dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22ft) away.
The plant is spread by two principal means;
- The most widespread distribution tends to be by human means where individuals pass on seed to friends
- Once established in the catchment of a river the seeds, which can remain viable for two years, are transported further afield by water
The main method of non-chemical control, and usually the most appropriate, is pulling or cutting the plants before they flower and set seed. Our conservation group regularly organises ‘balsam bashing’ work parties to clear the weed from local areas and riverbanks.
Unfortunately our spring bat walk event had to be cancelled due to bad weather but this ash been rescheduled for Friday September 16th at 6.45pm meeting at the Farmhouse Pub. Updated details will appear on the website www.horleyconservationgroup.co.uk as they become available.
In late June we were contacted by the Horley Tangent Club to ask if we could show them what Horley Conservation Group has been up to. Our Chairman met members of the club at Tanyard Pond and for a very pleasant hour we visited and discussed many of the areas HCG has worked in over the last 2 years. Many of the members have childhood memories of playing in the fields we walked through. There was some discussion of Tanyard Pond as a boating lake belonging to Langshott Manor, which it would be very interesting to know more about – have you any recollections of those times?
The walk was well received by the Tangent Club and it was a great opportunity to spread the word about the Horley Conservation Group. It was also a lovely reminder of all the work HCG has achieved since we started.
The group has also been busy seeking funding for various projects including a storage facility for tools. Watch this space for further details as we get them.
Details of autumn and winter activities will be published as soon as we have dates confirmed.