Field Event Reports

19 July: A visit to Egrove Park, Kennington

We saw the largest Weeping Silver Lime in the county.

Egrove Park at the northern end of Kennington is one of the two campuses of the Said Business School. The School has devised a nature trail, the Richard Marshall Walk, through its grounds and kindly gave permission for us to visit it. After postponing the trip from July 11th due to a football match that some members deemed important enough to miss the visit for, only 4 eventually turned up on the re-scheduled evening. The hot dry weather had taken its toll of flowers in the meadows, and the birds and insects seemed to have decided on an early night. However it was an enjoyable evening stroll nevertheless. We first visited the three artificial ponds where we spent some time watching the fish (sturgeon and Koi carp) and then proceeded through larch woods, planted as a sound barrier due to the proximity of the A34. The route then took us along the embankment where spoil from road construction had been thrown up. It must have existed earlier though, as there was a mature oak tree growing on the top. After that we proceeded through a large wildflower meadow that had been specially sown. Most of the flowers were hidden behind long grass, if indeed they were there at all, although we did see knapweed, a little yellow rattle and a few other species growing along the edge. A detour took us to the early 19th century farmhouse indicating the earlier use of the estate, next to which was growing the largest Weeping Silver Lime, a non-native species, in Oxfordshire. Passing through a second, similar wildflower meadow (the two meadows are managed as part of a stewardship scheme) we headed back to the car park via some more non-native specimen trees including Ginkgos, a Wing Nut (Pterocarya sp.) and a Red Oak.

It was an interesting visit, if only to see what lies behind the Oxford Ring Road and A34 that some of us traverse daily. It may be worth returning in what will hopefully be a more normal year weather-wise.

Cynth Napper, Graham Bateman, Felicity Jenkins, Michael Bloom (leader).

Michael Bloom