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IOL South & Channel Islands

IOL South & Channel Islands Home Page

Outdoor Learning in the South & Channel Islands

The Southern Region includes the beautiful coast, lakes, rivers, downs, open countryside, city centres and two National parks spread across the counties of Hampshire, West and East Sussex, Kent, Surrey, London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire along with the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands. We have a great array of environments used by our members, from rural open spaces, dramatic coastlines, to open country and city centre provision. The region has a strong outdoor learning community with many centres and freelancers operating in the very diverse and active region.

The voluntary committee represents IOL in your region, get in touch with us. We wish to represent your views.

South & Channel Islands Regional Events

South & Channel Islands Regional News

Making a revival – the monster mower effect
Louise Keir
/ Categories: IOL Wales

Making a revival – the monster mower effect

Scarce orchids and other important plants have been revealed on a reserve in mid Wales. Mowing work done by Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs Project on Cors Caron National Nature Reserve (NNR) uncovered more orchids on the site.

Peat moss (sphagnum) has also been uncovered as the invasive grass has been removed.

The wetland harvester machine (aka monster mower) was bought by the project in March to cut back invasive grasses like purple moor grass (Molina) to restore the habitat’s important mosses, plants and flowers.

Rhoswen Leonard, LIFE for Welsh Raised Bogs Project and Monitoring Officer, said: “After only three weeks of mowing back in March the results are impressive.

“The presence of sphagnum and orchids in this specific part of the bog shows that removing the grass provides the habitat with much-needed light and space where these important flowers and plants can flourish.”

Several species of orchids were noted such as the heath spotted orchid and lesser butterfly orchid. Orchids are some of Britain’s most exotic flowers but have become rarer over the last 50 years due to intensive land management.

Sphagnum forms the building blocks of raised bogs and slowly decomposes under waterlogged conditions to form dark brown peat soil. It can hold more than eight times its own weight in water and helps to keep the bog wet and spongy. This keeps the peat wet which means it can store more carbon and help to fight climate change.

Iestyn Evans, Cors Caron NNR Manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “Working alongside this project means we are able to try new and innovative approaches to managing unique habitats like Cors Caron, with the aim of creating a healthier and more resilient environment.” 

Mowing work will start again this month, as work had to be put on hold due to the bird breeding season which runs from April to August. 

The monster mower was bought by the project in March 2019 and will mow, treat and roll the grass to create more open areas which should provide a further boost to the orchids and moss.

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South Committee

Chair  -  James Dyer - Email James

Secretary - Martin Robinson

Treasurer -  TBC

Committee: Sam Kendall, Mike King, Gary Palmer, Chris Rinaldi, Denea Wright


Go to the South & Channel Islands Facebook page for pictures, videos, reports and updates.


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