Iver Heath Fields
The late Simon Hill devoted a lot of time and energy to 'Iver Heath Fields', regularly organising practical conservation work-days on behalf of Iver & District Countryside Association, particularly in the woodland near to the road; he was often the only person in attendance..... Unfortunately, despite considerably practical conservation experience from my teenage years helping manage 'Watery Grove' an oak-hornbeam woodland site between Stevenage and Knebworth in North Hertfordshire through The Barclay School Conservation Corps, then, whilst at university with the Hants & Isle of White Naturalists Trust plus National Trust Acorn camps, looking after three sons on a full-time basis ruled me out of helping. I would have enjoyed the exercise. I took my sons many places in back carriers but young children do not mix with sawing and felling of tree trunks. Iver Heath Fields, which occupies c. 40 acres, was purchased by South Bucks County Council in 1996. It is managed by Iver Parish Council in conjunction with volunteers from Friends of Iver Heath Fields and Iver Countryside Association.
Colt's-foot grass smothered in stamens
Simon, a professional mycologist, who worked at the Pest Infestation Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries on the outskirts of Slough, compiled a check-list of species of flowering plants and ferns in 1999, which I will reproduce at the end of this page and provide an additional species I record during visits in coming years. Mr Hill also regularly led annual 'Fungus Forays' for Iver & District Countryside Association in Langley Park, which my sons enjoyed during their late primary school years (see: ).
Hairy nodes of Oat-grass
The aim of the management of the site is to conserve its natural beauty, to protect the wildlife and plants, as well as creating an area of heathland for recreation and enjoyment of all. Objectives include maintaining boundaries (hedges and ditches), clear problem weeds such as ragwort (which appeared successful as very few specimens were observed on June 12th 2015 - though I only covered part of the total area but I do recollect greater numbers on a previous visit when I saw cinnabar moth larvae; it provides the food plant for these larvae), encourage meadow and heathland species of plants and wildlife (naturally there have been changes). Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact the parish clerk (see link to Iver Parish Council below).
Simon was especially keen on butterflies (about which I know little). The Meadow Brown, Marbled White and Small Skipper can be seen. Plus Roesel's Bush Cricket. Skylarks, Green Woodpeckers and Kestrels (which I have seen on previous visits) are common.
For more information about Iver Parish Council, see:
Cock's-foot en masse
I had been meaning to re-visit the site for several years and finally made it in the second week of June 2015 - deliberately chosen to be peak flowering time for grasses and one of the best places for this family of plants in the immediate area. And so it turned out. Though my first impressions were not favourable, as the 'entrance' to the main fields has become overgrown with brambles and nettles but having emerged into the sunlight and open expanses, what a delight. There are carefully maintained paths for the dog walkers, who are the main users of this resource but I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who appreciates the countryside, especially members of Iver & District Countryside Association. Simon would be pleased and I am relieved to find the place still in good condition, years after someone who played a significant role in maintaining it in the past, has passed away. The same cannot be said for the former 'Old Slade Lane' Nature Reserve in Richings Park.
Looking south-west from Field 1
Anyone interested in the grasses which grow in Iver Heath Fields, see the section on UK Grasses within this web-site, which has quite a number illustrated:
Yorkshire fog (in foreground) with Cock's-foot in centre
I shall let you know shortly which grass is colouring the meadow in Field I red
Under-side of Male fern frond showing young pale green sori