Pan reserves – Toffling Hill, Yorkshire, England

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On Easter Sunday I shook hands on a deal to buy a small field in a very
rural part of Holderness in East Yorkshire. My wife, Jan, and I intend to keep it as a
nature reserve and specifically to designate it as a Pantheist nature reserve. We intend
the site to be open to all Pantheists, who will be welcome to visit it with their family
and friends at any time, if they keep any dogs on a leash. The field is quite old – I have
seen it on a map of 1797 exactly the same size and shape then as now. It is about two
acres, on a sloping site of coarse pasture – tussocky grass with extensive patches of
nettles, dock, and rosebay willow herb. There is a small pond fed by a natural spring. On
the southern and western sides, there is a very tall and thick hedge of mature hawthorn
and elder. On the northern and eastern sides the hedge is interspersed with very tall ash
trees. There are also mature blackthorn, elder, willow, and poplar trees. All Most of the
hedges are double, growing on either side of s deep dyke, which forms a natural wildlife
corridor. On our visits to the site we have either seen, or seen evidence of, habitation
by rabbits, moles, stoats, water voles, and roe deer which probably use the pond as a
drinking source. The farmer who is selling the field told us that it holds a colony of
lizards and that barn owls and other owls hunt over it regularly as it is inhabited by
good numbers of woodmice and bank and field voles. We have also seen several species of
birds, including moorhen and mallard on the pond, and redwing, greenfinch, pheasant, great
tit, long-tailed tit, woodpigeon, and jackdaw. I imagine that later in the year it will be
an excellent habitat for butterflies and dragonflies. I am also hoping to record a good
list of moths, which are my own special wildlife interest.

Peter Crowther

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