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Regular readers will be aware that we at Wilden Marsh have declared war on invasive Himalayan balsam. Our main weapon, a herd of ten rare breed Shetland cattle, has not yet won its first battles in the Riverside or Hoo Brook pastures, nor did we expect that it would. The cattle will regroup to attack the menace again when it arrives on the battlefield next year. Our secondary weapon, The Marsh Volunteering Group,… Read More

Sunrise: 05.06 Sunset: 09.24 Hoo Brook Pasture still looks like a battlefield, but it’s a field in which the battle is almost won. Most of the Himalayan balsam seeds and leaves have passed through the cattle, but a lot of bare stalks are left sticking up above ground. In fact, I’d say the cattle are bored with this pasture and are preferring the rough grasses at the dry end of the Swamp,… Read More

Sunrise: 05.06  Sunset: 09.24 Leaning on the gate of the Riverside Pasture, I’m looking east across the northern end of the Swamp. Hoo Brook, which borders the northern end of Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, is immediately to the left of the balsam behind the stock fence. Hoo Brook Pasture gate is just out of sight at the far end of the fence. Last year, this area… Read More

Sunrise: 05.00 Sunset: 09.28 The cattle are doing a great job, but they are not clearing the Himalayan balsam in Hoo Brook Pasture as quickly as expected. I think the problem is the high rate of balsam growth –  now 12 to 15 feet tall with 3″to 4″ diametre stalks, in places. Also, new balsam shoots are growing vigorously from the bare earth shaded by the earlier balsam growth. So the cattle… Read More

Sunrise: 04.56 Sunset: 09.31

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