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Field trip to The Knapp Nature Reserve, Sidmouth (Botany Section)
Sat. 10 June 2023 at 11:00 am
Meet at the free car park in Knowle, Station Road, Sidmouth, EX10 8HL, grid reference SY121881, What3words plug.bucked.fuels. Lunch can be in the garden of a house adjacent to the reserve.
Here’s some more information on the Reserve:
Most of the Knapp Nature Reserve was bought recently by the Sid Vale Association, the UK’s oldest civic society and they are keen to compile a species list. The nature reserve consists of three areas of grassland, each with its own character, two small pieces of woodland, an orchard and a dew pond. The site, which totals approximately 5 ha, is adjacent to Sidmouth cemetery which has another hectare set aside for nature with a reduced mowing scheme. The Knapp’s southern area of grassland, Peasland Knapp, is a very steep unimproved pasture. It was neglected with much bramble a few years ago. The brambles have been subdued and now it is grazed by a small number of sheep in early spring and again in autumn. It is studded with many ant hills and has a good population of grasshoppers and crickets.
The other two areas of grass, the west and east fields, were owned by the district council and rented out as cattle pasture in the recent past. They were purchased by the SVA two years ago to ensure they would not be developed for housing in the future. Now they are maintained as meadow with a cut and clear regime in late summer. The woodland was planted 25 years ago with a mix of native species and was intended to be managed as coppice, but lack of resources meant the rotation lapsed. A new management plan is placed to thin the woodland and restore coppicing to open the canopy. There is a large, impenetrable area of Blackthorn Prunus spinosa which is home to a colony of Hazel Dormice Muscardinus avellanarius.
Bring packed lunch, appropriate footwear and clothing, as well as sufficient water, sun-block, insect repellent or other essentials required for a day outdoors. Please contact the leader if you wish to attend – meeting details can sometimes change at short notice and if the weather forecast looks poor the meeting may have to be cancelled. You should also check with the leader if you wish to bring your dog.
Non members are welcome.