Battling against alien invaders



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We always have to be on guard against alien invaders, but generally Holderness and East Yorkshire is something of a safe haven for many of our native plants who exist in waterways and meadows thankfully free of invasive species.

This is partly thanks to the geology of the area with the dry peaks of the Yorkshire Wolds barring the transit of many riverine species. So far the Wolds have seemingly deflected the muntjac deer which will be the next great menace to woodland flora, having already ravaged much of Norfolk’s best hazel coppice and nightingale thicket. Muntjac have reached Scarborough now but have not as yet been logged east of the Wolds.

We still have the issue of American mink which are a hang-over of long closed fur farms – this year the scourge of water voles made a new offensive in the northern River Hull and we’re now dealing with the fallout here at Yorkshire Water’s Tophill Low Nature Reserve. After a spate of sightings thankfully post breeding season volunteers are currently running ten ‘mink rafts’ in an effort to get them before they get the voles.

A dream would be to eradicate mink from the Hull Valley as they would then find it difficult to return.

But sometimes the enemy stows away to arrive – and this week to our horror we found a small patch of Himalayan balsam plant growing on the reserve for the first time; likely having fallen as seed from a vehicle mudflap on the nearby road. It’s only because of the observance of volunteers these threats are often registered – as a few years left unchecked and the problem can become too big to tackle.

Tophill Low Nature Reserve is located 4 miles from the A164 at Watton and is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission £3.30 for adults and £1.50 concessions. Sorry no dogs. For more information visit or follow us on twitter @tophilllow

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