The Oxford Golf Club (pictured above) and Friends of Lye Valley have partnered to plant a rare plant that started life on the course in 1839. They were joined by members of the Oxfordshire Flora Group of the Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire and the Freshwater Habitats Trust in a special planting ceremony celebrating biodiversity at the historic golf club.
They planted ‘Flat Sedge Blysmus compressus’, a grass-like plant which thrives in wet marshy conditions. The conservationists had been seeking the ideal wet spring area to re-home the plant from a river bank in Marston, Oxford. The team stumbled across a suitable area at Oxford Golf Club while carrying out some scrub clearing work – and later discovered the plant had originally been present on the site.
The plant is referenced in a volume of ‘British Phaenogamous Botany, Figures and descriptions of the genera of British flowering plants’, published in 1839 by renowned botanist William Baxter. Mr Baxter recorded the plant from ‘under Bullingdon Green’, which is an area of the golf course next to Hollow Way.
Stephen Nicholson, General Manager of Oxford Golf Club said: “It’s befitting that a rare plant that originated on the golf course has come home. There are several rare species of plant that are of scientific importance on the golf course. It is something that we believe adds to the splendour of the club and should be celebrated, preserved and protected for many years to come. In the past developing the course for housing has been mooted and alongside the health benefits of golf, the vast biodiversity of the site are prime reasons why Oxford Golf Club should be here for many years to come.”
Dr Judith Webb, Ecological Consultant and Chair of Friends of Lye Valley, said: “Oxford Golf Club embraced this project and share our passion for enhancing and preserving biodiversity. The Flat Sedge is Nationally Rare and precious plant of great scientific importance. It’s really satisfying to have re-introduced Flat Sledge in the area where it originated.”
Oxford Golf Club is the oldest course in Oxfordshire and features a Harry Colt designed 18-hole course, putting green, practice area and coaching school. It is located on Hilltop Road, Oxford. The club’s head professional is Joe Pepperell, brother of European Tour player Eddie.
Oxford Golf Club https://www.oxfordgolfclub.net/