Hello, Mark here to update you on our work at Labrador Bay.

We went to Lab Bay last Thursday to complete a couple of jobs that were on our list. The posts of a pedestrian gate south of the car park were replaced as they were rotten, so hopefully these should last for many more years before needing to be replaced again.

We also dug up a lot of Ragwort on the south side of the reserve. Ragwort is very good for the Cinnabar Moth as the caterpillars feed on the plants, and is also good for other bees, beetles and moths. However, Ragwort is also poisonous to sheep, cattle and ponies, and it unlike when it is alive, it is less recognisable and tastier to the animals when dead and dry, making it even more likely that it will be consumed by them. It is for this reason that we try to keep the amount of Ragwort to a minimum on Labrador Bay as we currently have ponies and sheep on the reserve to graze the site.The plant is perennial (lives for over two years), starting as a flat rosette and maturing into tall flowered plants (up to 1.5 metres tall) during the summer. We removed as many of the rosettes as we could find so that there is less to pick in the summer. If we keep doing this, then the Ragwort problem will reduce, meaning that we have to go back to dig it or pull it less. The work that was undertaken last year to reduce the amount of Ragwort on the hillsides has also been very successful, as we could only find a handful of Ragwort plants in these areas. The Ragwort was collected into a dumpy bag and is currently on the sidings. It will have to be burned at some point as Ragwort cannot be simply left somewhere in a pile because it is a controlled weed (under the Weeds Act 1959) and even got its own act in 2003 (the Ragwort Control Act).

Ragwort in flower (Wikipedia)

Thanks for reading, we’ll update you next time we work at Labrador Bay :-) 