Troopers Hill - different parts making a beautiful site
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Troopers Hill covers over 20 acres (6.8 hectares) and includes a range of different types of soil, plants and habitat. Because of these differences the Hill is divided up into 11 "compartments" on a map
http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/plan/Map%201%20Compartments.pdf that is used for the management plan and each compartment is managed differently.
For the land lying just inside the hedge that borders Greendown across to the footpath (Compartment 2) the soil is richer, more water is held in the soil, the grass is a rich green colour and wide-bladed. Look across the path and compare this with the fine grass growing in a thin layer of dry soil over rock.
Compartment 2 has an annual grasscut and the majority of the grass is removed to prevent further enrichment of the soil and encourage the growth of wild flowers of the type you would see in meadows.
Here you will see black knapweed (purple flower a bit like a thistle - see photo). Black knapweed "does best on welldrained soils which receive summer rainfalls and nearly full sun – moist eco-sites in dry grasslands and open forest". You will only see it on the Hill where ithe soil is a bit damper and richer.
If you would like to learn more about how Troopers Hill is managed you can see the 5 year management plan on http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/plan/TroopersHillMPv3.pdf. This has been prepared following guidelines from Natural England (formerly English Nature), DEFRA (Department of Fisheries and Rural Affairs), Avon Wildlife Trust and Bristol City Council's Conservation officers. Give the plan a bit of time to load - it is 8MB.
Black knapweed is important for the following: Goldfinch, Lime-speck pug moth, Meadow Brown, Painted lady, Peacock, Red admiral, Small copper, Small skipper, Gatekeeper and Large skipper butterflies. The bees were certainly enjoying black knapweed nectar today.
Posted by Susan, Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:49 am