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Friday, 11 July 2014

Copley Re-development site

I made a quick visit this morning, as I have never visited this site before and was surprised to see a self-seeded White Poplar, Populus alba, about 2' high. I have never seen a seedling of this species and thought they only spread by suckers. It is a tree that is not seen in the wild and is always planted. I wonder if there was a White Poplar there before they graded the land and this is a sucker from its roots? Formerly called in old English, the Abele tree.

As Steve observed there is a lot of Fern Grass, Catapodium rigidum, probably more than you will see again in future years. It is such a diminutive grass, about 2" high from ground to top, it can take a while to notice it and then you will see it everywhere. It is only when I looked at the photo I saw the tiny 'insect'!

On the right, before the unsympathetic new bridge, between the 2nd and 3rd lamp standards, there are a few clumps of Soft Brome, Bromus hordeaceus. But with them is another Brome which I think is Smooth Brome, Bromus racemosus. If so, it is rarely seen in West Yorkshire and there are only a handful of sightings. As you can see from the photos, the soft brome is very hairy and more compact and the smooth brome has no hairs but more scabrid. Also it has a looser panicle with longer branches and droops more.

                                           Smooth B. top  Soft B. bottom  

                                                    Soft Brome
                                                        Smooth Brome

Oh, and the small foxtail that you saw Steve, is a marsh foxtail, Alopecurus geniculatus


Peachysteve said...

I find something new at this site every time I visit.
There are many White Poplar seedlings scattered around the site. You can find them on both sides of the road. Most are just a few inches high. I have not seen any on the other side of the river.

andrew marsden said...

Further update on the redevelopment. The council has secured 2M of european funding for aroad to link the devlopment site to Mearclough (Sowerby Bridge) the council will also spend an additional 2.5M on this! So it wioll not be long before 3H of trees are removed from the site and around 150 homes and industrial units are built at the site. I am pushing the council to do an environment impact assesment before this happens.

Steve Blacksmith said...

Glad you found it and the grasses, Philip. I knew you would like it. There were never any White Poplars there; they've definitely seeded from somewhere. First time I've seen them self-seeding as well.

We are well aware of the development plans, Andrew, but thanks for the input.

The council has already spent 100s of thousands of pounds doing environmental impact assessments, and have voted to go ahead with urbanising this potentially lovely open space.

We can only hope it gets mired down with problems and never happens. And enjoy it while it's there.

Steve Blacksmith said...

Forgot to say thanks for the id of the Marsh Foxtail Alopecurus geniculatus, Philip.

I'll remember that one (probably not) :-)

andrew marsden said...

Thankyou Steve,

The Environmental impact assessment was done around 2010. Since outline planning permission and the removal of topsoil from the site more flora and forna appear to be present.
I'm hoping that the council will do a more up to date assessment.
As you say lets hope it never gets off the ground but I fear that now the road will go ahead and they way our council operate thats it's a forgone conclusion.