Making a Beeline for the Sun!

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Some cool carp fishing lakes in kent images:

Making a Beeline for the Sun!
carp fishing lakes in kent
Image by antonychammond
This was taken at the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve in Kent. Stodmarsh has a long history of human activity that has shaped the landscape you see today.

It has been used by medieval monks to graze horses, as a colliery at the start of the 20th century, and as a duck shooting area in the 1930s.

The reserve, which covers 249.9 hectares, lies in the floodplain of the river Stour and has always been marshy. Subsidence caused ny mining caused much of the reserve to become wetter, and this eventually led to the formation of the lake and reedbeds at the western end of the site.

The Grove area of the reserve is a more recent addition. Purchased by Natural England in 1998, it has been enhanced with the creation of additional pools, reedbeds and grazing marshes, with water levels raised across the land to make it much more attractive to wildlife.

The area has been protected and managed for nature conservation for over 40 years and, despite all the changes in land use, probably looks much the same now as it did in medieval times.

Reed beds
Stodmarsh NNR has the largest reed bed in the South East of England, which supports a range of specialised birds and insects. The reed beds are an excellent sanctuary for migrating birds such as swallows and house martins in the summer and starlings in the winter; sometimes thousands can be seen here as they stop overnight before continuing their journey in the morning. Natural England manage this habitat to make it attractive to wildlife by cutting reeds in rotation, controlling scrub and managing water levels.

Grazing marsh
Natural England control water levels so that there is some surface flooding amongst the grass that benefits the wintering and breeding birds that flock here. Local farmers graze cattle on the marsh to keep the grass short and tussocky, and in late summer each year the grass is cut back to a manageable height. In some area longer grass and sedges are encouraged to help species like snipe.

While cattle graze the marsh from May to November, to coincide with the growing season, a small herd of wild Polish ponies called Koniks are left to graze all year round.

Lakes and pools
The lakes and pools at Stodmarsh NNR are full of invertebrates and fish. They range in size from small larvae and fish fry to large carp and pike. In early summer, you may see large fish in the main lake splashing around in the shallows and swimming into the reeds as they spawn. In the autumn, the water levels are lowered in some of the lakes and pools to expose bare mud for migrating wading birds. The fish provide a key food source for many birds like kingfisher, cormorant, grey heron and little egret, and occasionally attract osprey, too.

The ditches allow us to move water around the Reserve and they provide a habitat for a range of rare plants like sharp-leaved pondweed, mammals like water vole and invertebrates like the shining ramshorn snail. The water levels are controlled to stop them drying up and they are cleared out periodically to prevent them becoming completely dominated by reeds or scrub.

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