Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Botanising Stobswood opencast
I have been surveying a random area of the newly reclaimed Stobswood opencast. I have wandered over different areas but decided to do a patch on the Southern edge near Ulgham as the square mileage is too much to do on my own. All the areas I walked around are very similar. The last of the top soil went down last year and most of the ground is damp with many small pools. The dominant species are Spring Sedge (Carex caryophyllea) and Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) and in the drier areas Fumaria and Veronica species abound. More surprisingly is the abundance of Common Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) which is scarce away from the coast. This flora will change over the next few years. The ponds are in but no proper boundaries are in place and damper areas will be drained and woodland is yet to be planted but I will monitor the plant life here and see how it changes.
Most of the land is owned by Peel energy so no doubt there will be a wind farm somewhere and a golf course is proposed for the site. Every time I visit the area there is always a Barn owl flying around and many Hares in the open fields.
Also pictured above are Kidney vetch and Scarlet Pimpernel from Felton lane and Common Cornsalad which is common along the main railway line between Stobswood and Widdrington station.