Posted by: lensweb | August 3, 2012

Toton Sidings Walk

July 30 2012  – Toton Sidings Walk  Parked at Town Hall car park (free in evening), Midland Street, Long Eaton. An approx 3 mile walk some uneven ground and a short section of roadside walking, returning along the Erewash Canal. Grid ref.  SK 490 339     Leader:  Marion Bryce

Local people were shocked in December 2009, when thousands of trees were felled overnight on the Toton Sidings site.  After complaints to the Forestry Commission by the Toton Environmental Protection Society the new owners were found guilty of illegal tree felling and this was upheld on appeal. In the meantime the site has blossomed with thousands of flowers and insects thrive, including a colony of marbled white butterflies.

LENS at Toton Sidings image

LENS at Toton Sidings. Photo © Marion Bryce

Following a newly designated footpath through the middle of the sidings we could see how birch and willow had rapidly colonised the site and also a solitary oak sapling, the scene was moving fast. Pink -broad leaved everlasting pea and centaury, purple- buddleia, tufted vetch and lucerne, yellow- broom, evening primrose, tansy, perforate Saint John’s Wort and common ragwort, white -melilot, toadflax and ox eye daisy colour the site. Statuesque plants of mullein were of three species, the common giant mullein with grey hairy leaves, moth mullein with its clutch of orange stamens and white mullein. A large bird cherry marked the end of the footpath and we walked down Bessell Lane through an industrial area.

Grass-leaved Ragwort

Grass-leaved Ragwort. Photo © M. Bryce

Grass-leaved ragwort (Senecio inaequidens) growing under the A52 bridge  was a first local sighting of this newly invasive species Crossing the railway line and the River Erewash which borders from Nottinghamshire to Derbyshire we peeped at a shy clump of mistletoe high on a poplar tree.

Round-fruited Rush image

Round-fruited Rush. Photo © M. Bryce

Accessing the Erewash Canal towpath at Sandiacre Bridge we quickly spotted the brown globular capsules of the round-fruited rush.  Distinguishing the spear leaves of yellow flag, sweet flag and the burnt tips of branched bur reed, small black powder puffs scattered across the water while mother moorhen scolded, their nest was hidden in the reeds. Reed sweetgrass and lesser pond sedge lined the canal which was decorated by yellow and white water lily flowers.  Sharp edged arrows pierced the water surface while the strap like submerged leaves of arrowhead undulated with the flow.  The narrow leaves of unbranched bur reed floated midstream its fruit betraying identity.  Marsh woundwort, orange balsam, purple loosestrife and creeping yellowcress were some of the many decorative flowers of the canalside.  Who can believe that hemp agrimony is a weed? The dead leg of the old Derby Canal was clogged with water fern despite introduction of biological control by the Environment Agency.

Field Garlic image

Field Garlic. Photo © M. Bryce

At the hedgeside between Dockholm Lock and Derby Road Bridge the field garlic was flowering. This red data book species was noted at this site in Rev Linton’s 1903 Flora of Derbyshire. From the vantage of the raised flood bund we looked across the flooded fields of Toton Washlands a new wildlife site on the Erewash Valley Trail.  As the light faded we reflected on the fine weather and a local walk of great contrasts, admiring the Sustrans flower sculpture on the way back to the Town Hall car park.

Marion Bryce

Related Links;

Landowners told to replant felled Toton woodland


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