Partners and local organisations
Ketley Paddock Mound is owned by Telford & Wrekin Council, and is one of its Local Nature Reserves. You can find information and links to the other LNRs here https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20629/local_nature_reserves
Paddock Mound is managed through a tripatrite agreement between Telford and Wrekin Council, Ketley Parish Council and The Friends of Ketley Paddock Mound
We are supported in managing the woodland, and undertaking wildlife surveys by various organisations:-
Projects have been funded through Telford & Wreking’s Community Pride fund and also company schemes such as Veolia: https://www.veolia.co.uk/insight/veolia-environmental-trust-continues-support-it-all-november
Orchid count at Lodge Field and The Beeches LNR – By John Box
WHY DO WE COUNT THE ORCHIDS?
Orchids are a natural part of agriculturally unimproved species-rich grasslands on chalk and limestone soils and on pH neutral soils. They grow together with many other characteristic plant species associated with these grasslands which are invariably rich in species. If such grasslands are not grazed or cut for hay, then scrub species start to colonise including brambles, hawthorn, blackthorn and woodland trees such as ash, oak, birch. The grasslands tend to become less rich in species and more dominated by coarse grasses such as perennial rye-grass, false oat-grass and cock’s-foot. They start to resemble roadside verges. Lodge Field and The Beeches are both being managed as species-rich hay meadows by TWC and its contractor Idverde. They are cut in August and the cuttings are removed to ensure that the soil fertility remains low thus both preventing the growth of coarse grasses that love rich nutrients in the soil and encouraging the growth of wildflowers.
Monitoring such changes can be very complex and time consuming as you need to measure the changes in many species. Counting orchids is an indicator of the changes in the grassland and in the quality or nature conservation value of the grassland. People love orchids and they are easy for people to count. Orchids have been expanding in numbers to fill the available ecological niche on both The Beeches and Lodge Field. As have a number of other wildflowers such as yellow rattle which is really great as it parasitises the roots of coarse grasses and weakens these species. Other wildflowers and fine grasses can then colonise.
GRAPHS OF ORCHID NUMBERS (see below)
The graph of the orchids on Lodge Field shows the orchid numbers increasing over time as a result of the regime of once a year grass cutting and removal of the cuttings that was started by TWC in 2005. Lodge Field was then a derelict field that had been horse grazed and which was being invaded by coarse grasses and brambles. The annual grass cutting and removal of the cuttings has brought about the increase in the orchids and the change from a derelict grassland to a wonderful species-rich meadow. At some point, the numbers of orchids will plateau as would be expected of any species colonising and expanding in a new habitat. After reaching the plateau, annual changes in the numbers of orchids will be due to environmental factors such as a hard winter, a late frost, lots of rain or a drought in spring or in summer.
THE BEECHES LOCAL NATURE RESERVE
The total was 329 common spotted and hybrid orchids (common spotted x southern marsh orchids). This compares with 113 (2017), 221 (2018), 249 (2019), 15 (2020, due to the extremely dry April/May weather). This is a 32% increase this year from 2019.
LODGE FIELD LOCAL NATURE RESERVE
The total was 3,338 common spotted and hybrid orchids (common spotted x southern marsh orchids). This compares with 2,362 (2018), 2,478 (2019), 131 (2020, due to the record-breaking dry and sunny weather in April and May). This is a 35% increase this year from 2019. The total includes 14 southern marsh orchids which this year were generally in a fairly small area at the northern end of the grassland on the east of the watercourse. Previously, the southern marsh orchids were in the southeastern part of the grassland. They have moved, perhaps because the southeastern area has become a bit too dry for them.