The Wildlife of Market Rasen Golf Course.
The Course is part of a once more extensive area of heathland, a rare habitat in the county. Much of it has been afforested in the past but Linwood Warren Nature Reserve adjacent to the course is maintained by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and preserves 54 acres of heathland.
Though maintained primarily as a Golf Course, parts of the heathland still can be found. Large areas of heather are in the rough and creating new areas is part of Course Management. The towering Scots Pine are a together with mature birch and oak. There is an ancient beech tree near the 16th tee that is thought to be over 200 years old. There are also damp areas and in one in front of the 7th tee can be found Marsh Cinquefoil and it is one of a few places it can be found growing wild in the county.
In about 2000 the Environment Agency took over three holes to construct the Market Rasen Flood Relief Scheme. In exchange three new holes were created on the east side of the Course on what was then Forestry Commission land. In a very short space of time the holes have blended in perfectly with the rest of the Course. Gorse and broom occur amongst the existing oak trees and an area of rough grass has been sown with a wild flower seed mix to encourage insects and butterflies.
Birds are a feature of the Course with, amongst others, Pied Wagtails, Mistle Thrushes, Goldfinches and Tit species breeding. A small number of nest boxes have been put up and are monitored, the contents recorded and submitted to the British Trust for Ornithology Nest Record Scheme. More uncommon birds that are associated with Pine trees and heathland are Crossbills, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and they can be seen occasionally. At dawn and dusk in spring, Woodcocks can be seen “roding” along the fairway edge, particularly on the 15th hole. These are male birds patrolling the boundaries of their territory with rapid wing beats as they compete to attract the attention of females. In winter flocks of Redpolls and Siskins can be seen feeding in the birch and alder trees, particularly between the 8th and 11th fairways. The river also provides an ideal habitat for Kingfishers which are regularly seen.
Water Voles used to be seen in the river alongside the start of the 10th fairway but they have declined in the past couple of years and are now very uncommon. The same applies to adders which used to be common in the area but there have been no records for a number of years though Grass Snakes have been seen basking in sheltered areas.
In the autumn several types of fungi appear amongst the tree roots including the Fly Agaric with its’ spectacular red cap. Roe Deer and Muntjac visit infrequently and badgers are occasional visitors.
Sympathetic management has led to Market Rasen not only being one of the premier heathland Golf Courses in the County but a haven for a varied and sometimes spectacular amount of wildlife.
Stuart Britton 15/5/2022