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Reserve Location



The reserve is situated to the west side of Holtspur Top Lane Beaconsfield and can be reached by going down the footpath B33 opposite Cherry Tree Road or by going along Riding Lane to the five barred gate on the left just before the right hand bend.

See map


Holtspur Bank is an area of chalk grassland and ancient woodland which was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1995.

The Reserve is owned by Beaconsfield Town Council, as is the other side of the valley which is leased to and managed by Butterfly Conservation.  It can be accessed at all times, though it is best if people keep to the paths and keep dogs under control.

We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful area on our doorstep as so much of this sort of countryside has been lost in the last fifty years. The reserve lies on the north eastern slope of the Beaconsfield gravel plateau and consists of chalk grassland at the eastern end and woodland to the west.  The two habitats are separated by an ancient woodland boundary bank.

In the woodland called ‘Cut Throat Wood’ the trees at the top of the slope on the gravelly soil are mainly oak with honeysuckle and bramble beneath.  Old coppiced hazels and whitebeam grow on the chalk lower slopes and many interesting members of the orchid family can be  found among the trees during the spring and summer. 

You can download a copy of the Nature Reserve leaflet here


The Nature reserve is managed by the town council with support from our group

'The Friends of Holtspur Bank (LNR)' (LocalNature Reserve).

The Friends Group carry out conservation work such as path and scrub clearance, hazel coppicing, and raise funds for various projects on the reserve.  They also organise walks during the Spring, Summmer and Autumn, which are lead by qualified guides and produce a regular newsletter giving details of their activities and future events.  The Council hire contractors for necessary major work.


'The Friends of Holtspur Bank'

This local group consists of people of all ages who have a strong interest in conservation. Membership costs just £4 per year (£5 from April 1st 2019) for the whole household. If you feel you cannot volunteer for work parties, don't be put off from joining as many of our members support us by their subscription alone and, for various reasons, don't get involved in any of the work on the Reserve.

To join the friends group call Pauline Knapp our Membership Secretary on 07956 277674 and request an application form.

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Newsletter No. 75 November 2018

        News from the Reserve

From Shirley 


The autumn weather is now here and the work parties have started again. Volunteers meet on the last Sunday of the month at 10.0am and new members are always welcome.  

Before that though, we still had the autumn walk, which was once again led by Derek Bourne whose account is given below.


Autumn Walk - September 2018 with Derek Bourne

After one and a half days of wet weather, a sunny afternoon enticed a dozen of us to assemble for the walk.

On entering the reserve at the top of the grassland area it could be seen that as a result of the hot dry summer almost all the plants had finished flowering with just a few isolated remnants of spear thistle, perennial sow thistle and knapweed showing any colour. A few dogwood bushes were turning purple, otherwise, only the orange-red leaves of guelder rose were showing any autumn tints. There was lots of evidence of a good crop of crab apples, sloes and haws together with the berries of dogwood and buckthorn.

After progressing to the woodland area, the seed heads of wood sanicle and herb bennet could be seen lining the paths. The hooked seeds of both are ideal for dispersal by humans and other animals using the paths. The many fallen acorns and beech masts and the holly berries on the trees confirmed that it had been a very good year for most fruit and berries. There were even some seed spikes of both white and narrow-lipped helleborines still to be seen.

Returning through the lower part of the grassland there was lots of hogweed in seed in an area which recently had been cleared of scrub. Despite this, both black and white bryony had re-emerged displaying their red berries. Our last significant find on our pleasant and varied walk was of some small clumps of the semi-parasite eyebright flowering in among the grass that it feeds on.
Derek.
 


Fungus Walk - 7th October 2018 with Penny Cullington

Around twenty people went on the Fungus Foray in October led again by the expert Penny Cullington who is pictured to the right holding one of the many fungi found on that day. She also always manages to find something new and, this time, out of a total of 43 species found, eight were new.  The total for all the times she has been leading the foray now stands at 144. If anyone would like the full list, please see the table on the Fungi page.


On 7th November the AGM was held in the Beaconsfield Council Chamber.

After the formal business, which Les always manages to keep fairly short, Martin Harvey (a Butterfly Conservation recording officer)


gave a very interesting talk called ‘Moths in the news and the news about moths’. He amused us all by saying that the most talked about moth in the news is always the clothes moth, usually illustrated by a picture of the wrong moth.  He also explained the differences between butterflies and moths which can be difficult.


Once again Joe Hope’s sheep arrived in September to carry on the good work of grazing on the chalk bank, which is too steep for any mechanical device to be used.  Job done, they were taken off on 11th November.

Other work on the reserve is being carried out by Chiltern Rangers. They always welcome any Friends to join them on these sessions which we publicise by email.


Friends work parties will be continuing in the New Year of course, but, because of the Christmas holidays, the first one will be on 6th January and, as in other years, this will be followed by a mulled wine party at 10, Burgess Wood Grove.  We hope to see many Friends there whether they can get to the work party or not.

Shirley.

 

                        Work Parties in 2019 - meet at the Riding Lane entrance at 10:00 am.

SEE EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS

The work to be carried out at Friends work parties will be decided according to requirements

and in conjunction with work carried out for the Town Council by John Shaw and the Chiltern Rangers CIC.







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