Ecosulis Awarded Fenland Cutting Contract for Natural England

Posted by Julian Burchby on 17/06/2011

Ecosulis are delighted to have been awarded a contract to cut fenland vegetation on Frilford Heath SSSI in Oxfordshire for Natural England. 

The acid grassland, heathland and associated valley fens at Frilford Heath are unique in southern England.  The site has an exceptionally diverse flora and fauna, with over 400 species of vascular plants recorded, including many national rarities, together with rare beetles, flies, bees and other insects.  

The fen is situated on permanently waterlogged peat at the junction of a small reedbed and carr woodland has a wide range of plants which are very uncommon in Oxfordshire.  

These include blunt-flowered rush Juncus subnodulosus, black bog-rush Schoenus nigricans, spike rush Eleocharis quinqueflora, bog pimpernel Anagallis tenella, common butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris, adder's tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum, the cotton grasses Eriophorum latifolium and E. angustifolium.  The exceptional orchid flora includes marsh helleborine  Epipactis palustris, southern marsh-orchid  Dactylorhiza praetermissa, early marsh-orchid D. incarnata, fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea ssp. densiflora and the rare narrow-leaved marsh orchid D. traunsteineri.

The moss and liverwort flora recorded from the fen contains many species associated with moist and base-rich conditions, including Bryum pseudotriquetrum, Campylium stellatum, Cratoneuron commutatum, Drepanocladus revolvens and the uncommon marshland species Mnium seligeri.

This work will be carried out in July and utilise specialist cut and collect machinery to reduce the levels of fertility on the site.  This consists of two adjacent sites totaling 1.85 hectares.