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Monday, 20 August 2012
Godstone

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As seen from a vantage point on the North Downs yesterday.

Posted by bigblue on 20/08/2012 at 04:53 PM
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Sunday, 19 August 2012
The same view

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Oxted from the North Downs earlier this afternoon.

Posted by bigblue on 19/08/2012 at 05:10 PM
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Saturday, 18 August 2012
Oxted this evening

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From the Woldingham viewpoint.

Posted by bigblue on 18/08/2012 at 06:58 PM
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Friday, 17 August 2012
Limpsfield

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This shot, showing Limpsfield from the North Down near Botley Hill, is looking in the opposite direction to this one that I posted recently. This evening’s ride can be seen here.

Posted by bigblue on 17/08/2012 at 07:36 PM
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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Swans

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On the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, about 1 minute before I discovered that it’s not a good idea to paddle your canoe between a swan and its cygnets.

Posted by bigblue on 16/08/2012 at 08:45 PM
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Stinging nettles

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It was great that the beautiful Surrey countryside was showcased during the Olympic cycling roadrace recently. The riders and television spectators saw some lovely parts of the county, and the riders themselves experienced these first hand. Likewise viewers saw the Olympic torch pass through Surrey a few weeks before the race.

However someone “thoughtful” from the organisers, or perhaps Surrey County Council, saw fit to trim and mow the verges just prior to these events. This unfortunate action deprived the Olympic cyclists (and roadside spectators) from having the full Surrey experience. Regular cyclists know that no Surrey ride would be complete without “nettle slalom”. Perhaps the organisers and Council can bear this in mind with the upcoming Tour of Britain?

Posted by bigblue on 16/08/2012 at 01:18 PM
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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
It’s death!

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I haven’t seen one of these guys around Oxted for a while. It’s probably an old one that escaped the clean-up that removed the rest of them.

Posted by bigblue on 15/08/2012 at 06:38 PM
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Monday, 13 August 2012
Ragwort

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As seen recently on your television screens during the Olympic road cycling race through Surrey, this pretty daisy flowered plant, Jacobaea vulgaris, is an invasive weed in several parts of the world but is native to the UK where it:

provides a home and food source to at least 77 insect species. Thirty of these species of invertebrate use Ragwort exclusively as their food source and there are another 22 species where Ragwort forms a significant part of their diet.
Furthermore, English Nature identify a further 117 species who use Ragwort as a nectar source whilst travelling between feeding and breeding sites, or between metapopulations. These consist mainly of solitary bees, hoverflies, moths, and butterflies such as the Small Copper.
....
Of the 30 species that specifically feed on Ragwort alone, seven are officially deemed Nationally Scarce. A further three species are on the IUCN Red List. In short, Ragwort is an exclusive food source for ten rare or threatened insect species, including the Picture Winged Fly (Campiglossa malaris), the Scarse Clouded Knot Horn micro moth (Homocosoma nimbella), and the Sussex Emerald micro moth (Thalera fimbrialis).
....
Without doubt the most common of those species that are totally reliant on Ragwort for their survival is the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae). The Cinnabar is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Species, its status described as common and widespread but rapidly declining. Which gives yet more evidence of Ragwort’s important role in maintaining the country’s biodiversity and a vitally important component of the native flora.

Despite this, ragwort is listed as an injurious weed under the provisions of the Weeds Act 1959, and has a specific act of parliament devoted to it, the Ragwort Control Act 2003 (which provides for a “code of practice” on ragwort). The reason is that the plant is poisonous and poses a danger to horses and other livestock, especially in dried form (e.g. in hay) when they are more likely to ingest it.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has Guidance on the disposal options for common ragwort. Surrey County Council also provides advice to landowners on managing ragwort. It is important to remeber that although ragwort can be a nuisance to horse owners, eradication of the plant is not a desirable option due to its environmental benefits.

See also: ragwort facts and it’s illegal to uproot ragwort in the wild.

Posted by bigblue on 13/08/2012 at 08:28 PM
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