Gorgeous grasses

Grass ID course at Eycott Hill

On the 6th July a group went on to Eycott Hill Nature Reserve following the very knowledgeable John O’Reilly of Ptyxis Ecology in search of grasses to identify.

The morning commenced with a hot beverage followed by introductions where everyone explained what level their grass knowledge was at (I had to admit, mine was rubbish).

After this we had a short presentation where John explained what things to look for to identify grasses; and how to tell them apart from rushes and sedges. This made it all sound very technical but John really is the expert and even got us novices understanding what we had to do and look out for.

We travelled up to Eycott Hill with our hand lenses clutched tightly, where we were greeted with glorious sunshine! We started with more common species such as Yorkshire fog and perennial rye grass. As the sunshine got stronger, along with the sun burn on my face, so did my confidence with my grass knowledge, which seems to have been in hibernation ever since I finished my placement over a year ago!

Throughout the day we covered numerous grass species all just in the car park and the top field. We then moved further on to Eycott Hill where due to the soil acidity changing so did the species of grass we saw, we even had a go at identifying sedges and rushes. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable day which was made even better by the sunshine and the company. My knowledge and confidence increased throughout the day and I can now name over ten species of grass we have on Eycott Hill; which I’m sure many of you volunteers will be happy to test me on when we meet again.

I am now ready for the next courses on sedges and I am even going to try my hand at learning how to take photos with my camera, which won’t be just selfies for my Facebook!

Rowena

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.