The first of this year’s monthly Butterfly Surveys by Friends of the Common (FOCC) was carried out in the hope that Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Commas that have been hibernating over winter would appear, but sadly the day was too cold for them. Anyone who would like to join in can contact Michael Hyde at firstname.lastname@example.org. These surveys have been done for many years and last year we were again visited by the Painted Lady from North Africa.
Time moves on – the gorse is now in full flower, with some of the coppiced bushes now showing signs of the regeneration that will benefit them in the future.
Beating the Bounds, this annual family event is held every year on Rogation Sunday, where parishioners walk round the boundary of the common together beating the perimeter with stripped willow. This event dates back to the 15th Century and was designed to show people the extent of the boundary, something essential in pre-map days and still vital today to check for encroachments and fly tipping and assess what work needs doing. If there is a large turn out the walk might split into two groups and head off clockwise and anti clockwise and meet in the middle.
FOCC have a range of activities led by the Parish’s Common ranger and other experts and one, nocturnal, survey in July looking for glow-worms which used to be found here. Other activities which help the Ranger include gathering heather seed, removing invasive hawthorn and ragwort and ‘dead-hedging’. Contact Simon Varnals email@example.com if you would like to get involved.
Top Common South pond has been cleared of excessive vegetation as part of its life cycle and this will improve the breeding conditions for its Great Crested Newts – the muddy water will eventually become clear again, once the fine clay particles have settled.
Photo © Chorleywood Magazine