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Showing posts from June, 2019

Grassland water voles

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Does the topic of fossorial or - subterranean living - grassland water voles (GWV's) have any bearing for us in south-west London, or is this just a phenomenon of north-east Glasgow?  I went there to seek out this nationally significant population, after finding my own fossorial animals in west London (as well as seeing the One Show segment).  It was thrilling to see such abundance and listen to the work of  Robyn Stewart on behalf of the Mammal Society at  a course in Easterhouse, Glasgow.

Useful facts: fossorial animals are deemed those living >500m from a watercourse. Animals more than 150m are considered a 'transitional' population, the rest are water voles. 80% of the grasslands containing Holcus lanata (Yorkshire fog) in the north east Glasgow, contain water voles; 56% of these areas will be lost to development or infrastructure projects over the next five years.


In the time outside the course, I went  exploring the M8 motorway corridor, local housing estates -…

Lost Rivers: The Fleet

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Starting at the Hampstead ponds - a group, convened by David Fathers and the London National Park City - began to walk the course of the 'lost' Fleet river. There are at least two arms arising from the spring ponds in Hampstead and at Kenwood House; where the river arises from gravelly scars across the lawn,  especially in winter months. The Westbourne, Tyburn and river Brent also rise hereabouts.We left the Heath and followed Flask Road named after the bottled spring water industry, which was popular in the 19th century.
Following Fleet Road we walked into Kentish Town (Ken is the old English for Oak); at Talacre Gardens there is  signage detailing the industrial rise of the area at the expense of the river. Then to Chalk Farm and Camden. The etymology of Chalk Farm is an abridgement of Chalcot Farm, and has nothing  to do with geology).






Through Kings Cross -St. Pancras Old Church, where stands the Hardy tree - and to St. Chads, we were able to hear (and smell) the rive…