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Abbotts Ann Vitacress Visit

Abbotts Ann Vision Vitacress Visit

 

Our visit to the Abbotts Ann watercress beds took place in a week when the weather was unpredictable. Fortunately we had a clear evening free from heavy rain – just a short shower.

Under the exceptional guidance of Ron Bainbridge, Manager of Vitacress Abbotts Ann, our 33 visitors had an introduction to the history of the local watercress beds. This included a tour of the beds and information on how the cress is sown, managed, harvested and distributed.

It was very interesting to hear about the Pillhill Brook and the important part it plays in the growing of the watercress, as well as the dependence of the brook on the watercress beds to keep the river at an acceptable level to run freely and maintain the wildlife, both flora and fauna.

Ron then introduced Kate Bott, and we were privileged to meet Danni, Ron’s Harris Hawk, and a Gyrsaker Falcon called No2. Kate and Ron gave a brief demonstration with the birds, who help to keep the watercress safe from pigeons and ducks amongst others.

After this there was a break for tea, coffee and amazing watercress and cheese sandwiches, as well as very tasty watercress scones made by one of Ron’s employees.

We were very fortunate to have people with specific knowledge on various subjects present on the evening, and we would like to thank the following:

Matt Owen-Farmer from The Anton River Conservation Association (TARCA) for taking the water sample and showing us the myriad of small creatures inhabiting the brook.

Kate Savage for introducing us to the local bats. What an amazing experience it was listening to the sound of the various species on the bat detector. These were mainly Pipistrelles, but we also saw and heard Daubentons (white-bellied water bats) skimming along the Pillhill Brook.

Tim Norris, who waited patiently until after dark to show us the visitors to his two different moth traps. These included Orange Swift, Straw Underwing, Dark Spinach and Popular Hawk Moth, amongst many others.

It was such an informative and educational evening which everyone enjoyed. Many of you contacted us with your thanks and praise since the event which endorses its success.

For those of you we could not fit in , we hope Ron will arrange another visit at a convenient time to him, as we already have a list of people waiting. We like to thank Ron for organising the Vitacress event and goodie bags which everyone appreciated.

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