Aciiiiiiiiiiid! (Part Two – The Scari Bit)

So. Now I think I have a handle on what Acid Grassland actually is, I find myself wondering what this is:

Looks like a path doesn’t it. But this wide channel goes directly through the acid grassland. There’s another pic here which puzzles me just as much.

Now – I’m a total novice when it comes to acid grassland, as you will have seen from the last post - I completely admit it – but surely what something on very thin soil, that has a massive and very delicate variety of plants, sedges, fungi and mosses chiefly needs is being left well alone?

Rachel tells me:

“At the Planning Board, (for the Olympics – TGP) Mark Camley (CEO Royal Parks) said that the x-country course would be only scarified. But the representative from the British Equestrian Federation said that it would be prepared in the way needed for the participants. Sue McNeill and I both noticed the discrepancy, and I wrote a note and had it taken up to the chairman then and there, pointing out that Camley and the BEF man could not both be right.  Nothing happened; chairman did not respond in any way.”

Hang on, hang on. Let’s take this slowly. Scarified? Now, I know what that means. That’s where you rake through your bog-standard ordinary garden grass to get rid of pesky mosses and daisies, isn’t it? Now – I am an extremely poorly-informed Phantom, but I have a few questions about that. Would someone fill me in, please?

1) I thought the Olympic route wasn’t going anywhere near the acid grassland?

2) Why does acid grassland need scarification anyway? Um, isn’t the whole idea that it needs to have all those mosses and ‘weeds’ mixed in with it? Capability Bowes, am I being truly, truly ignorant here? (entirely possible…)

3) When does scarification end and scalping begin? 

The picture above isn’t just a spot of grass being raked out, it’s bloomin’ everything. The workers told Sue that they were re-seeding with ‘Acid grass’. I am told there is no such thing, which is why our Greenwich Acid Grassland is so important, both ecologically and historically - IT CANNOT BE REPLACED. We have some of the last acid grass land – that is acid land that has grass on it - left in the region in that tiny area (the rest of the park is just ordinary green stuff.)

Call me cynical but  if the scarification process ‘just happens’ to not work out quite as intended and, (for example) accidentally kills off the acid grass anyway, would that mean there would be no reason not to buy a bumper pack of family-grade lawn seed at B&Q and put the cross country route  exactly where the organisers always wanted it ?

the attachments to this post:


6 Comments to “Aciiiiiiiiiiid! (Part Two – The Scari Bit)”

  1. Indigo says:

    Good write up, Phantom – both posts – you found some interesting detail in the Holiday Geology Guide.

  2. You’re quite right, Phant. That’s not been “scarified” – that’s been “ripped up”.

    “Scarification” is the removal of moss etc from a lawn (with a rake) so that the drainage is improved and the grass can “breathe” better. Its only usually necessary on lawns or other formal areas of grass – and certainly NOT “in the wild” where the natural balance of things has to be allowed to take its course.

    There is NO SUCH THING as “acid grass”. There IS “grass that will flourish on acid soil” and there seems to be plenty of this in situ. What they will probably do is, as you surmise, just bung down a load of bog-standard lawn grass seed mix. One of two thing will then happen; 1) the lawn grass will be unable to tolerate the acid soil and will either not germinate or will grow and then die completely, leaving a horrible scar (which will eventually be colonised by the remaining acid-tolerating grass, but it will take a loooooong time) or
    2) the lawn grass will go bananas and will swamp out the acid-loving grass, meaning that the habitat will eventually just become another patch of rank, bog standard “meadow grass”.

    I KNEW we were going to have all these sorts of problems. LOCOG have proved beyond all question that they cannot be trusted with any of their “promises”.

  3. Katrien says:

    In the September newsletter of NOGOE2012 (available on their website) you can find links to a map of the park and the cross country course plotted on it. The course goes through the playground and the flower garden. I thought those were the two parts that would remain open. Another lie or is the course shown by nogoe2012 not correct?

  4. Polarity says:

    Readers might be interested in this story:
    Man in court on Greenwich Park criminal damage charge

    All ties in with the above.

  5. [...] Park for the London 2012 cross country event.  Read about “acid grass” here and here on the Greenwich Phantom’s blog and on the [...]

  6. Jack says:

    I was walking through the park yesterday and saw the path they have dragged through the Crooms Hill side of the park, and knew instantly that it was for the cross country course. It run straight through the heart of the old grassed area, exactly as LOCOG said it wouldn’t do.

    What a shocker, lied to again.