Is Hampshire home to the worst ragwort infestations?

  • H&H may have crowned it the second horsiest county in our survey (8 July 2010) but Hampshire is also the county most plagued by ragwort, according to the British Horse Society (BHS).

    Last year the organisation ran a nationwide survey on the weed. More than 2,000 people responded, with Hampshire receiving 66 reports. Surrey was second with 61. Cheshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire had 50 each.

    Cleveland, the Scottish Borders and West Glamorgan received the fewest reports.

    Now a second survey has been launched — to coincide with the BHS’s Ragwort Awareness Week (11-17 July). The BHS hopes this new survey will help identify trends in ragwort proliferation and assist in lobbying for control.

    “The danger that the plant poses is widely known, yet levels in the UK still continue to rise,” said a BHS spokesman. “This suggests the threat is not being taken seriously. If hard evidence is acquired, the battle to control the weed will be easier to fight and win.”

    More than 75% cases nationwide involved land that animals were grazing on or near, and 13,189 horses were identified as grazing on ragwort-infested pasture.

    If anyone spots ragwort during the week (11-17 July) they are urged to fill in the form at www.bhs.org.uk

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