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Manx Nature - A Walk Through the Ballaugh Curragh 2 October 2008

Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of six stamps illustrating the nature that can be seen if you take a walk in the Ballaugh Curragh. Ballaugh Curragh is a true place of wonder and fascination and this new stamp issue reflects this and depicts an Orange tip, a curlew, Birch Bracket Fungus, large Red Damsel, Marsh Cinquefoil and Royal Fern. Ballaugh Curragh encompasses the last remnants of an ancient lake that formed in the lowland between the Bride Hills and the Manx upland.

The word 'Curragh' is a Gaelic word meaning marsh or wetland. There is a comprehensive network of boarded walks threading their way through Ballaugh Curragh. A number of the official paths are directed along the tops of what is left of the ancient hedges that divided the old meadow system, created in the middle to the late part of the 1800s. It is here that the Royal Fern, Rhenniagh reeoil, can be found in abundance.

Meanwhile the meadows that flood in winter are home to the Willow species Shellagh, but the old meadow hedges attract certain tree species that aren’t able to grow where the ground floods. The Killane trench winds its way through the centre of the Curragh beside the old road and this is the main hawking ground for the Large Red Damsel Snaid-veg yiarg liauyr. For the most part, the trench runs north/south and gets the best sun of the day. Winter maintenance provides clearings with many vantage points for damselflies, dragonflies Snaid mooarey and the numerous butterfly species. Ditches run beside every path and hedge in the Curragh; these have become clogged up over the years, but they provide a great place for the plants that like their roots in the water. Meanwhile it is fortunate that there are still some open meadows in existence supplying the evocative Curlew Crottag with nesting opportunities for its four sharply pointed, dark brown, very well camouflaged speckled eggs.

Dot Tilbury, Philatelic Bureau Manager of the Isle of Man Post Office said:

“I felt it would be wonderful to do a nature issue and who better to get involved with such a topic on the Island but John ‘Dog’ Callister. We decided to concentrate on Ballaugh Curragh as John ‘Dog’ is so knowledgeable about this area and it really is a place of amazing beauty.”

Renowned wildlife artist Richard Lewington was specially commissioned to produce the stunning artwork for the stamps

View the stamps and related products here

For an illustrated pdf press release please click here

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