Golf course second haven for Heather in Bexley

Bexleyheath Golf Course, running downhill from Mount Road to the A2, is a Borough Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, almost certainly on account of harbouring the only Heather (Calluna vulgaris) in Bexley outside of Lesnes Abbey Woods, along with some other uncommon acid grassland plants. A private site, I was fortunate to strike up an online conversation with club member Martin Cunningham, which resulted in an escorted visit on October  2nd, since it transpired that he was interested in discussing ways of increasing the amount of Heather growing here. Donna Zimmer joined us to look at the bird potential.

Part of the Heather stand at Bexleyheath Golf Course (Photo: Chris Rose)

There was a good number of healthy Heather plants, apparently resulting from occasional light trims, but they were all in a relatively modest area on a west-facing slope, with a few young Broom, plus Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Sorrel, Sheep’s Sorrel and Wood Sage.

Young Broom plants amongst the Heather. (Photo: Chris Rose)

There is a strong stand of Broom elsewhere on the eastern margin.

Stand of Broom on Iris Avenue side of the site, looking towards the clubhouse. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Of the other SINC-cited species, a small amount of Harebell was flowering in a wall at the north end of the site, where there was also some Ladies Bedstraw. Climbing Corydalis is said to have occurred, but without a precise location it will need a proper search on a future visit. 

London rarity Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) flowering on a retaining wall. (Photo: Chris Rose)

The fairways, their margins and around the bunkers were strangely lacking in flowering plants, being (superficially at least) almost pure grass. It wasn’t clear how that has come to be the case, but at any rate there are really only a few small ‘islands’ of acid grassland at present.

It was quiet on the bird front, despite several areas of good mature tree cover, though Jay and Green Woodpecker were seen.

Central copse of mature trees. (Photo: Donna Zimmer)

Jay at Bexleyheath Golf Club. (Photo: Donna Zimmer)

Green Woodpecker by one of the greens. (Photo: Donna Zimmer)

A large patch of flowering Ivy had attracted a Red Admiral, but rather surprisingly there was no sign of any Ivy Bees. 

Red Admiral near an Ivy patch on the golf course. (Photo: Donna Zimmer)

Quite a few fungi were in evidence following recent wetter weather.

(Photo: Donna Zimmer)

(Photo: Donna Zimmer)

Chris Rose photographing a fungus. (Photo: Donna Zimmer)

(Photo: Chris Rose)

 

We hope to be able to take another look around the site in future. In particular, Climbing Corydalis is found at only two sites in the Borough at present, so it would be good if it could be re-found here.

The club has a (non-playing) social membership for £57 pa + VAT

http://bexleyheath-golf.com/membership/

Chris Rose and Donna Zimmer

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1 Response to Golf course second haven for Heather in Bexley

  1. Dave Cornwell says:

    “The fairways, their margins and around the bunkers were strangely lacking in flowering plants, being (superficially at least) almost pure grass. It wasn’t clear how that has come to be the case, but at any rate there are really only a few small ‘islands’ of acid grassland at present.”

    Surely that is to be expected as it is the nature of the beast. Constant mowing and use of herbicides.
    Dave

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