South Riverside Pasture
The South Riverside Pasture is looking good. Much of the grass is at shoulder height. Willow scrub coverage is a good deal higher, but not yet too dense. 75% of thistle coverage is acceptable. The other 25% is invading the northern end of the pasture but is not thick enough to be a problem this year.
A six-metre-wide strip of unbroken meadowsweet is progressing south down the north end of the pasture. I will get the cattle working on this in late August if possible. I love meadowsweet, but it will invade an area when the conditions are right; it needs thinning.
I disturbed clouds of butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies and micro-moths on my way along the riverbank this morning. There are vastly more insects on the south marsh compared with the north, which is down to the better condition of the south marsh.
I didn’t see anything that I thought shouldn’t be in this pasture. Grazing has eradicated the large patch of tall hemlock in the Tenant Farmer’s Field; it had been there for as long as I have walked the marsh.
I haven’t come across any giant hogweed yet. As always on the marsh, the critical word is variety, and the main task is keeping invasive species in check. The controlled use of Shetland and Galloway cattle is an excellent way of maintaining balance. Spot flail mowing is good for controlling brambles and scrub.