Posted by: lensweb | May 23, 2012

Mercia Marina – Wildlife Walk

May 21   Mercia Marina – Wildlife Walk

At the Toyota roundabout (A50/A38) take road left to Willington. At traffic lights at edge of village just before canal bridge turn left. Note brown sign to Mercia Marina. Proceed for about a mile, drive over railway crossing, marina on left. Park inside entrance on left.

Grid ref  SK 303 296              Postcode  DE65 6DW

Walk Leader:  David Boddy

Close to the old Willington Power Station, Mercia Marina has been created from an former gravel pit and is on the peaceful and tranquil Trent and Mersey Canal, halfway between Fradley Junction and Trent Lock/Sawley in the heart of England’s canal country. Twelve islands/promontories were added to the existing Willington Lake, creating a series of mini-marinas in the 24 acre waterspace, surrounded by soft banks planted with wildflowers and reeds.

Wellington Power Station image

View across part of the site – disused Willington Power Station in background

On a warm still evening David introduced the site and led a walk around the marina, through the gated enclosure. He showed the great variety of native trees that had been planted, these included oak, alder, aspen, balsam poplar and several willow species.  Jubilee Wood close by had also been planted in honour of her majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

 The soil was poor and this has resulted in many wildflowers, including bee orchid if you are lucky.  There are also varied waterside plants such as great bittercress, water dock and water hemlock.  The plants are a mixture of plantings and natural occurrences.  Near the road are more formal plantings but great care has been taken throughout to plant species varieties where possible.

Willington flower image

Some strange scale insects were found on a hornbeam.  Leaf beetles, weevils and soldier beetles were abundant.

Scale insects on Hornbeam

Strange scale insects on Hornbeam

possibly Altica lythri

Possibly Altica lythri

We paused for a long time at one of the islands which was hosting a pair of yellow wagtails and other birds.  What a wonderful sight.  As the binoculars dragged themselves away, a small hedgehog came into view.

The Chandlery had a bright red sedum roof which provides a green niche for wildlife which is low maintenance and provides insulation.  There were few flowers on the butterfly bank and no butterflies were seen but purple hairstreaks have been recorded flying in the oak trees and so another visit in the month of July would be a good plan.

Sedum on roof

Sedum planted on chandlery roof

Downloads;

Walk Guide (pdf document)

Mercia Marina species sightings (doc format – recorded by Marion Bryce during the walk)

Related Links;

Mercia Marina Wildlife

David Bellamy Gold Award


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