Recording Bio Diversity in Happy Valley


Bio BlitzA Bio Blitz of Happy Valley took place on Saturday 19th August led by Sydney Gauld from Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre (OWIARC) . It was a wet day and the preceding day had seen an exceptional amount of rain fall in the West Mailand in a short time. This meant that pit fall traps could not be put out over night and had to be dug in on the morning of the Bio Blitz.

An on site recording station was set up where the information could be collated and displayed. A small hardy band were soon joined as the weather improved by family groups.

Happy Valley is an exceptional place to visit:

“There’s  a small car park, then you follow the path, down through a gate, by Edwin Harrold’s house.  Edwin Harrold moved into this house, in the late  1940’s. Happy Valley is a little vale in the hills, with a lively stream flowing through it.  The vale provides shelter , so Edwin  set about planting trees, making paths, and building walls.  He’s made a wonderful , secluded, magical little place of rushing water, peaty water-falls, pools, trees and flowers.” (B Bell)

There is quite an amazing variety of trees in such a relatively small place. Close to the house is a Turkey Oak thought to be the only one in Orkney.

Turkey Oak

Turkey Oak Happy Valley Orkney

Also of beauty was Dombey’s Southern Beech.

Dombey's Southern Beech

Dombey’s Southern Beech Happy Valley Orkney

As the day progressed the number of finds increased.

From the smallest insect to the tallest tree, from under the ground to in the air: everything that could be recorded was. The current records of Happy Valley will be updated with this latest survey.

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“Happy Valley was one man’s vision of what he could, working with Nature, realise when a sheltered vale gave him the opportunity.  It’s simply a wonder-full, HAPPY , place.” ( B Bell) Orkney Walks (with Stories) Happy Valley 

And let’s not forget the stream……

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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