Grazing marshes represent one stage in the drainage and exploitation of land that was once a floodplain swamp or mire. Farmers and engineers installed ditches and windpumps, converting the primeval wetland into a chequerboard of meadows and pastures separated by drainage channels. Often flooded in winter and too wet to grow corn, these betwixt and between landscapes developed into a remarkable haven for wildlife. This course will focus on three themes: a) where are the grazing marshes and what is their history?; b) the plants of ditches and wet grassland – often the finest examples of such habitats anywhere in the lowlands; and c) the present and future conservation status of grazing marshes. We will look in particular at the Somerset Levels & Moors, the Romney & Walland Marshes and the Norfolk Broads, but will take examples from throughout England and Wales.
Working for 40 years as a plant ecologist, mostly at Monks Wood, Owen’s research focused on transport routes, on wetlands and on combining productive agriculture with effective conservation. Now retired, he divides his time between researching and writing about the Fenland and working on conservation projects in his other home of Romania.
Please note this is an online course. No specialist software is required to participate, but a device with a microphone and webcam will be needed. Full joining instructions will be emailed a few days before the date of the course.
This is a live interactive course, and will not be made available as a recording to watch at a later date.
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