Crossness reed bed work exhibits ‘green gym’ credentials

Seven volunteers worked up a sweat on one of the Crossness Nature Reserve Reed beds today, helping to rake up and burn mountains of reed, including Manager Karen Sutton’s regular team of Reg and Roger who had previously done all the cutting.

Volunteer at work o the 'ridge and furrow' reed bed (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Volunteers at work on the ‘ridge and furrow’ reed bed on what turned into a bright sunny day (Photo: Karen Sutton)

The purpose of the operation, which is part of a rotational cutting programme, is to always have a mix of ‘young’ and more ‘mature’ reedbeds on site, so as to encourage a wider variety of species. The latter will contain denser stands and more plant litter from previous seasons, but if left too long this piles up and causes the reedbed to dry up and become less suitable for its specialist wildlife.

Numerous piles of reed were generated during the 3 hour session. (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Numerous piles of reed were generated during the 3 hour session (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Some of the cut reed and fringing grass was piled up and left for invertebrates that like decomposing vegetation, and for Grass Snakes to lay their eggs in over the summer. As the mounds rot down the heat generated will incubate any snake’s eggs.

The smouldering pile of burning reed produced this atmospheric effect against the winter sun (Photo: Karen Sutton)

The smouldering pile of burning reed produced an atmospheric effect against the winter sun (Photo: Karen Sutton)

If you want to help wildlife, meet new people, get fitter and discover muscles you never knew you had, do get involved in one of the many habitat management events around the Borough that will be continuing during the winter period ( including at Crossness, where each session has the added bonus of concluding with free food and drink ……..). See http://www.bexleywildlife.org/calendar/      for details.

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