Surveying Lincolnshire

Surveying Lincolnshire

Barrie Wilkinson

I've been out with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Wildlife Sites Officer, Jeremy Fraser, to survey and identify wildflowers and grasses in Lincolnshire.

Ok, so the title is a bit grandiose as this was a small part of south Lincolnshire, near Spalding. In fact, it was a triangle of land, less than one hectare, nestled in between arable fields, a paddock and a disused railway line.

As the Wildlife Sites Officer, it’s Jeremy’s job to visit these oases and record the species that he finds. So, armed with a species list (that was highly abbreviated and just looked like someone had been having fun with the scrabble tiles), a pencil and Jeremy’s encyclopaedic knowledge, we walked across a couple of fields (with the landowner’s permission) to the slightly sunken triangle of land that had been a small pit, probably sometime in the early 19th century, to take an inventory of what was there.


Jeremy amongst the reeds

Even though it was dry when we visited, the area was still dominated by wetland plant species, particularly reeds, sedges and willow trees, but amongst these large floral species were smaller grasses, such as barren brome.

Jeremy seemed to be able to spot and identify the plants from a seemingly impossible distance, although there was occasionally one that warranted closer inspection before it could be identified.


Surveying the disused railway track

While we were there we bumped into the owner of the stretch of disused railway line that was adjacent to the triangle. She allowed us to also survey this land. What was interesting was the difference in the species that we (Jeremy) found even though the land was directly next to the wetland and only about 10-15 ft wide.

The Wildlife Trust survey these parcels of land to try and keep a record of the habits and species in Lincolnshire but if they contain enough interesting or scarce species they can be designated as a Local Wildlife Site and then Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust will support the landowner to manage the habitat that is important to Lincolnshire’s biodiversity.

One of the problems of identifying and maintaining these habitats is that Jeremy, as amazing as his identification skills are, is only one person and Lincolnshire is a big county.