Flora And Fauna
A golfing visitor with an eye for the plants and birds of golf courses will find plenty of interest. The first nine holes have a rich variety of trees, mostly well known species such as Oak, Ash, Beech, Horse Chestnut, Silver Birch, Cherry and Field Maple.
There are two large old oaks flanking the second green. Separating the third and fourth fairways is a fine copse of Whitebeam interspersed with Beech. The chalky soil on the lower slopes of the course supports healthy clumps of Wayfaring Tree, Dogwood, Spindle and Field Maple.
Well grown specimens of Italian Alder and Grey Alder can be seen to the left of the 6th tee. The dogleg on the 6th is created by the largest trees on the course, a copse of White Poplar with Dogwood beneath.
The 7th has a Weeping Willow on the edge of a deep hollow in front of the tee. Then there are Sycamores and Norway Maples to the left of the 7th fairway and Field Maples to the right. These produce a wonderful tapestry of colour in the autumn. Another feature of the 7th is a copse of Austrian Pine with long needle shaped leaves. Beyond these and down the bank from the 5th green is a small clump of Hornbeam. The leaves are similar to Beech but the seeds are very different.
To reach the 8th green involves negotiating a small copse of birch trees including a Weeping Silver Birch. However, the finest Silver Birches on the course are to the right of the 9th fairway.
The second nine is on the highest, most exposed part of the course. Birch, Oak and Scots Pine are the predominant tree species. The underlying soil here is clay-with-flint, a soil which is suitable for the growth of Gorse and Broom in a few places. The more open aspect of this part of the course affords wonderful views, of Savernake Forest to the South and the highest part of the Marlborough Downs, Hackpen and the Ridgeway to the North.
As to birds, one might see Mistle Thrush, Kestrel, Buzzard, Rook and hear an occasional Skylark. Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge sometimes move in from nearby farmland. There are, of course, many smaller species accessible to those with a keen eye. Look out for a large bird with a forked tail; this is the Red Kite, a regular and spectacular visitor. Sometimes two or three of these majestic birds can be seen making use of convection currents over the course. Squirrels are something of a nuisance for the damage they can cause to tree bark. Badgers can also be a pest with the damage they can inflict on turf in their search for food. Golfers on the course in the early morning or late evening are more likely to see deer, hare or rabbit.