Our day began with 4 of us walking alongside the Calder and Hebble canal towards our destination, Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. A pleasant walk, particularly in the early stages, where the weeping willows present a majestic picture framing the landscape. Brown roll-rims were spotted at Brookfoot and a dragonfly crossed our path further along, probably a brown hawker. Nearing Cromwell Bottom a pair of mute swans were seen with their accompanying cygnets - 6 in total with their distinctive grey plumage.
On arrival we were met by Simon Day, Chair of Cromwell Bottom Working Group. He told us that the site had an extensive industrial history and afforded a varied range of habitats within its 76 acres. Simon was keen to establish a plant list for the reserve and to this end accompanied us on our walks to present an overview of the reserve. Alice's presence was greatly appreciated as she worked hard all day giving Simon detailed information on the vast array of species we came across. Our morning walk took in the meadow and then the bird feeding station. The usual woodland birds were seen here including chaffinch, blue, great and coal tit, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and robin. The meadow was past its best unfortunately and a note was made to return on a June visit to capture its late spring/early summer display. Broad-leaved Helleborine was seen in fruit, as well as prickly lettuce, black nightshade, bristly oxtongue and marsh hawksbeard (albeit only 1 stem). Cranesbills included small-flowered and cut-leaved and the dainty flowers of knotgrass were noticed. Smooth and hairy tare were seen and gallant soldier made a nice addition to our list.
After lunch, Simon took us to the ponds to see the work that had been done there. Both water plantain and water mint were in flower with the bullrush towering over everything. A lovely sight. Not a butterfly day - only green-veined white in flight. Blushing bracket was seen by John on our morning walk in the woodland area.
This is a huge site with lots to see. Our thanks to Simon for leading us round the site and to Alice for her knowledgeable input which was appreciated by all.