Ragwort and Hemlock

Weeds in the Fen

There is no shortage of ragwort around the fen these days. The yellow flowers look lovely here, seen here alongside the Lodes way where it crosses Burwell Fen, during 2013.

Ragwort on the open grazing area alongside the Maltings Path area of Lodes Way

Unfortunately it is poisonous to grazing animals, particularly horses. The Koniks and cattle that graze the area will not eat it while it is in flower, but may eat the dried plants.

The Koniks grazing beside Maltings Path

Another poisonous plant that has spread prolifically around the area in recent years is hemlock, producing stems up to ten feet tall in places.

Mature hemlock going to seed besides Harrison's Drove, Burwell

Both can be seen alongside Lodes Way across Adventurers Fen. This was traditionally known as the area around Burwell Lode. The National Trust have recently erected new Adventurers Fen sign, closer to their Wicken Fen visitor centre.

Ragwort and Hemlock grow besides Lodes Way, between Reach and Burwell Lodes, 2013

The National Trust have taken steps to reduce the ragwort for the summer of 2014, as well as fencing off the Maltings path section of Lodes Way, between Burwell and Wicken. The koniks often congregate here on the crossing point when the ground is dry and dusty.

The ragwort on the open grazing area alongside the Maltings Path area of Lodes Way has been cut back and the open crossing point fenced off for 2014