Soon after taking over the meadows, we had to have a large proportion of the circumference refenced to contain our dog who is burdened with a strong prey instinct and needs to be restrained from chasing off down the cliff after the foxes who live there.
The day after refencing, a hole appeared half way along the cliff run in the second meadow. We set a trap camera on the hole overnight to snap the foxes as they accessed the fields to hunt at night, with results that really surprised us, as shown below. Setting the trap camera up at night has now become a compulsion for me and its like Christmas each morning as I go out to retrieve the camera, load the images up and see what we’ve got as we eat breakfast.
ps don’t take any notice on the dates that are on the bottom of the photos – I need to work out how to set the camera up properly…..
We commissioned the Trust to come and carry out a botanical survey of the meadows and a management plan for going forward based on their findings
So on two beautiful late June days, members of the Trusts Land Management team came to carry out the survey. Walking round the fields with them that first day was a wonderful experience for us. Up until then, we were reasonably clueless about what was growing but, with experts at our side, we learnt so much. Who’d have known that plaintain wasn’t just plaintain but could potentially be one of three different species that we had growing, one of which was a chalk specialist and was actually completely amazing when you took the time to notice it properly.
After this survey we had a sound base level of what was there under our noses and it was easier to pounce on and identify anything new that appeared as the summer went on.
It was tremendously exciting to discover a single Early Spider Orchid and, later, a single pyramid orchid in the second meadow. Hopefully, over the next few years, we can cause the area around these beautiful plants to be more acceptable to them and they can proliferate.