Askham Bogs

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Askham Bogs
the birds

the birds

Yorkshire Wildlife trust’s first reserve, Askham Bog was gifted by Sir Francis Terry and Arnold Rowntree, the York chocolate makers, in 1946 to the then named Yorkshire Naturalists’ Trust. This 44.7 hectare reserve is renowned for its rare wetland plants and animals, the habitat a mixture between fen and bog. The reason for this unusual combination of habitats is due to Askham Bog’s location, surrounded on all sides by higher ground formed by debris left by retreating glaciers during the Ice Age. Peat cutting in the Middle Ages brought part of the reserve that had earlier progressed to bog, back to fen.

Popular with naturalists this reserve’s collection of plants include fen sedge (characteristic of East Anglian Fens), bog myrtle, water violet and rare sedges including the gingerbread sedge. In summer spotted orchids proliferate. The insect life is even more impressive with some of the beetles and flies found in very few other places including marsh carpet and dentated pug moths. Winter on the reserve sees the arrival of redpoll and siskin (above) which join woodcock and lesser spotted woodpeckers that breed on the reserve in the summer making the reserve a bird watcher's haven.

Management of the reserve hopes to maintain a variety of habitats. To achieve this regenerating birch and alder scrub is cut back; some meadows are mown whilst others are grazed allowing for a mix of plants and flowers; dams have also been installed on some ditches to keep the water table artificially high to prevent the bog from drying out and losing the species richness that it supports.

Bird photographs from Askham Bogs
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Askham Bogs on Twitter
Askham Bogs blogs and links
Askham bogs local services
Birdwatching walks at Askham bogs

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