At the Bigbury Parish Council meeting last week the poisonous ragwort was brought to the meeting and we were advised to pull it up whenever it is seen and to wear gloves when handling the plant. I found this useful website on ragwort which separates out the myth from the facts. http://www.ragwort.org.uk
It appears that both these comments at the meeting need to be clarified as pulling up or cutting off ragwort could lead to more ragwort unless all the roots are dug up.
In view of the concerns raised, I thought it might be useful to write a summary of the facts in the Bigbury News with a picture of what it looks like. It is toxic to animals but only when ingested and horse pastures are more prone to this because of the way horses open up bare soil for it to germinate in. Difficult to eradicate – pasture management to prevent bare patches is most helpful. It is not toxic to people through the skin and must be ingested to by people to be toxic. However, it could cause a skin allergy – so gloves would be useful. This website explains that ragwort is actually useful to 150 species of insects and it is not spread all over the place by wind. It must land on bare soil to germinate – building sites and bare soil in pastures. I will ask Rose if we should write a more full account of the issues so that we all have a good plan about how to protect our livestock and horses. Hope this helps us get to grips with ragwort. Louise