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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 30th July 2014
Lough Down (NT), Streatley ~ Ragwort and thistle clearance

Lough Down is one of three sites owned by the National Trust just outside Streatley, the others being The Holies where CROW cleared ragwort and thistle at the end of June, and Larden Chase. Today's task was again clearing ragwort and thistle.

While there were a fair number of thistles much less ragwort was to be found .....

..... and despite the occasional success .....

..... much of our time was spent wandering across the grassland looking.

Any luck?

It seems so!

On a very hot day a tub of ice cream would have been welcome but the container is in fact for collecting the cinnabar moth caterpillar which live on the ragwort, so they can be safely relocated. Surprisingly few were found.

While clearing ragwort and thistles may not be the most exciting of tasks, the stunning views across the Thames Valley and the variety of plants and butterflies that were to be found on the site more than compensated.

A Chalk Hill Blue, a butterfly restricted to the chalk downlands of southern England.


After a morning's trudging up and down and across the site's steep slopes, we were thankful when lunchtime finally arrived and we could sit down.

By this time we had completed the task at Lough Down and it was decided that in the afternoon we would return to The Holies for a final sweep of that site.

Woolly thistle found at The Holies during our afternoon task. Another species general confined to the chalk and limestone grasslands of central and southern England.

Many thanks to all who joined us for what from a wildlife perspective proved to be an interesting day, Cathy, both Judith's, Trish, Alan, Barry, Chris, John, Marcus, Mike and Peter.

Created: Wednesday, 6th August 2014
Photographs: Cathy Holwill, John Lerpiniere