Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Ovington Ramblers: Barton Broad and Alderfen Broad

Once again we visited two NWT reserves on the same day as they are both only a short car journey from Neatishead and about 10 minutes apart.

Greater Tussock Sedge
The northern end of Barton Broad is approached through the pretty village of Barton Turf.  There is only a short footpath walk here, so we drove on to the car park on Long Road at the southern end.  We then followed the well laid footpath to the board walk trail.  We took our time walking this circular trail around Heron's Carr as there was so much to see, with lots of useful information along the way.  The plant life took on gigantic proportions as we walked past giant Royal Ferns, enormous rushes and sedge tussocks 2-3' high.  The sedge thrives in the damp conditions and the tussocks provide multi-level homes for a variety of spiders and insects.

Halfway round there is a platform giving excellent views across the broad, where we watched lots of cormorants sunning themselves in the autumn sunshine.

Back at the car we had a quick coffee and home-made biscuits (courtesy of Joyce) and then it was off to AlderfenBroad.  A long rough track from Threehammer Common leads down to an excellent little car park. Unfortunately there are no NWT signs from the road and this track could easily be overlooked. However, we are glad to have found it as it proved a most enjoyable and varied walk. 

Part of the walk is beside a stream, along a grassy woodland path which leads round to a damper area of reeds, pink hemp agrimony, sphagnum moss and greater tussock sedge. There were lots of dragonflies all around us, with some actually landing on our heads! Good views across the broad can be seen but be very careful as you near the water's edge because the “ground” is actually not earth but feels like a raft of dead vegetation with water beneath. Beware! 

At the beginning of the year, we decided to try to walk round all the NWT Reserves in the Trust's 90th year.  I believe we have so far managed to walk about three-quarters of the reserves, so are on track to achieve our goal by the end of December.

Common Darter Dragonfly

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