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.
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.
There is a strong stand of Broom elsewhere on the eastern margin.
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.
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.
A large patch of flowering Ivy had attracted a Red Admiral, but rather surprisingly there was no sign of any Ivy Bees.
Quite a few fungi were in evidence following recent wetter weather.
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
Chris Rose and Donna Zimmer