Cromwell Bottom

Cromwell Bottom


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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

News News News Meeting 7:00 pm on the 8th May.2014 Relating to North Loop & Future use

F.E.E.T.  Are expressing some concern about the lack of ecological consultation and information in the Public Domain relating to reinstatement of the North loop and Hydro electric Scheme on the River Calder

It is clear that with funding streams available from two potential Calderdale Council will structure the Ecological and Conservation Developement of North loop in accordance with grant criteria and not necessararily the interests of Wildlfe or Conservation

FEET will act as a reminder  of the authorities statutory  responsibility to restore the North loop to standards required of the EA in doing so FEET will not see any body Hijack funding sources to the detriment of Wildlife or ecology

Restoring North loop means having dedicated Conservation areas that remain out of Public Use for the quiet use and conservation of wildlife free from over use or pressures made by man on wildlife

On the 8th May there will be a meeting to discuss the proposals relating to the restoration of North Loop Closed Land Fill Site, Cromwell Bottom. This meeting will provide a forum to input and discuss matters relating to the creation of biodiversity and access features on this unique development opportunity. The meeting will also provide further information and update on proposals surrounding the installation of a fish ladder and hydro-electricity option at the weir.

The meeting will be held at the Mulberry Suite, Brighouse 6th Form College, at
 7:00pm on the 8th May.2104

The Future of Cromwell Bottom 


It is within some concern that I address the issue of developing the Nature reserve as a whole in my capacity as Director of FEET - The Freshwater Environment Ecology Trust. and also as a trustee Advisor to CBWG

FEET are an independent body which have clear  interests of Conservation and Wildlife and are somewhat concerned by the game of politics that are unfolding regarding the availability of grant funding and how this portion of land is restored

Many Members and members of the Public are unaware that the large ammount of work occurring on the North Loop relates to capping off  of the other landfill site on this River Loop known as North loop. This is being done for a number of reasons and takes off any gases that such Rubbish may generate as it degrades and any associated leechate which can or cannot contain significant  levels of harmful substances

It appears , that Calderdale seek to develop the North loop in two distinct parts dependent on what funding streams can be accessed , not necessarily on the best ecological assessment or interests of Wildlife or Conservation, although in fairness . some restrictions will derive from the EA Eg Such as precluding of water Ponds and Scrapes on the upper elevation 

North Loop

Calderdale MDC must be reminded that there is a statutory obligation to restore what was a dump or landfill site to its original state. Let us remember some key points
(i) This is what it looked like before (ii) No records where kept about what was placed on North Loop (iii) what comes off or might come of by way of leaching not clear (iv) should not be pumped into the YW system without the relevant treatments   (v) not shipped off site to YW Works only to make itself downstream without knowing the impact on the River Environment or Fish in it





Interesting feedback from you regarding Calderdale Council's recent post about the open meeting on May the 9th 2014 at the Mulberry Suite, Brighouse.

We (CB) have altered some of your statements as they are factually incorrect e.g. regarding the picture of the landfill site; this is a picture of the knotweed control area taken on March the 8th. Also the Constitution is on the Members blog. Just what relevance the issue with Shibden Park has to do with CB is odd.    ++ see below


Cromwell Bottom

 +  On a matter of Technical accuracy

(i)  Constitution is only visible to members not those who might want to join
(ii) Those who might want to join Need to know what ethical values they are subscribing to
(iii) In its current form appears as a draft not a formalised document
(iv) Like many of the facts CB have got their dates wrong its May 8th (Thurs)

Perhaps CB might be less prescriptive and more factual in there presentation of fact

Waste Management Licence number  60801
A4 : Household, Commercial & Industrial Waste Landfill 

Environmental Permit Reference number  EAEPR\EA/EPR/EP3899ZU/A001 

For avoidance of doubt The extent of Active Licence Boundaries can be found here

EA Whats On Your Doorstep Link

The Health and Water Quality of the River Calder bisecting the site and Calder Loops on the reserve can be accessed here

I am not aware that Calderdale have consulted with any relevant stakeholder groups relevant to CB or for that matter defined them. and would also seek evidence to diversity and engagement for all other interested Stakeholders with particular relevance in defining the locality or role within the Boundaries of The LNR and where such groups have a role or relationship with council to be clearly stated

 ++ It also seems that Officer led Decisions seem to dominate member input when dealing with matters with the Council, and that is particulary evident within the Community Sector .( I refer to the Car parking Charges placed within Shibden Hall after the 5 million pounds revamp which include grant monies from the LHF) Shibden Hall was given as a gift to the People of Halifax expressly for their exercise and well being of the poor . FEET strongly opposed the charging of Parking fees which affected access on a busy road to Cunnery Wood LNR . We are of the reasonable belier that the way the traffic order was implemented without consulting full council (not just the 3 ward councilors one of which was leader at the time  and should therefore NOT have been engaed due to vested interest)  was in breach of the Councils Constitution.As a community Strategy there is no justification in depriving local people access to nature and the Shibden  estate . I understand car parking fees double during Term Time , Such a decision is likely wrong in principle , wrong in practice and likely wrong in law

 ++  The point being the Community Director will represent the Public Interest or  will be forced to do so under the umbrella of statutory instruments

In regard to the Hydro Scheme we have very clear views , with exception of flood control , FEET do not believe that the Flow and integrity of the River Calder , with any detriment to its dependent flora or fauna should be controlled or impacted on

I would also remind CBWG as a trustee that an integral part of the Groups constitution is to work toward nominating the LNR (Local Nature Reserve ) to status of SSI Site of Special Scientific Interest for the future enjoyment of the people of Calderdale and Brighouse

FEET will not idly sit by and allow the LNR to be used to justify public amenity space in regard to any future developments at the old brick works which would impact on any aspect of the Nature Reserve

The meeting will also provide further information and update on proposals surrounding the installation of a fish ladder and hydro-electricity option at the weir.

FEET recorded at CB for some years and and detailed and valid records for a 17 year period

If you are interested a Clear and objective assessment of issues relating to CB,  Information  and Updates are available both here specifically for

Cromwell Bottom


CBWG are also aware of my concerns as a Trustee relating to their own operation on a number of matters as it appears certain matters appear to be negotiated outside full trustee meetings or agendas clearly considerred by the group as a constitutional whole .These matters will be properly raised and placed on the agenda for the next committee meeting .It would be of value for the group to place that constitution in clear public view (Available on the Members blog)

FEET  will therefore be in attendance at the meeting held on 8th May at The Mulberry Suite to give our clear point of view . If you as a member of CBWG , Resident , Angler or other interested party  have any questions relating to our assessment  FEET would be more than happy to seek answers to them. We , FEET , are not minded to ignore them because we have a vested interest in the site or a material gain to be had by fostering a link with the Council in return for  being a cash Cow. In the matter of CBWG , as an elected member I believe these issues fall properly within the remit of the Constitution . 

In the meantime we (FEET) will be seeking input from

YW -Yorkshire Water
EA-  Environment Agency
CB MDC Council
All other Affected Stakeholders

Specifically in regard to Statutory Duties

When more detailed facts are available we will;  summarise and provide that information to the people of Brighouse Elland and those that utilise the reserve so that an informed opinion can be made

Colin Duke

Cromwell Bottom


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bird of The Day - Blackbird - Turdus merula

The Blackbird - Turdus merula


3518 Blackbird_1

Male All Black

Blackbird 33200

The Common Blackbird Turdus merula is a species of true thrush.The male of the nominate subspecies, which is found throughout most of Europe, is all black except for a yellow eye-ring and bill and has a rich melodious song; the adult female and juvenile have mainly dark brown plumage. This species breeds in woods and gardens, building a neat, mud-lined, cup-shaped nest. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits.


Common over most of its range in woodland, the Common Blackbird has a preference for deciduous trees with dense undergrowth. However, gardens provide the best breeding habitat with up to 7.3 pairs per hectare (nearly three pairs per acre), with woodland typically holding about a tenth of that density, and open and very built-up habitats even less

Male blackbirds establish a territory during their first year, which they will hold throughout their lives. The territory is essential for pair formation and nesting, although only a part of the food is obtained from within it

The breeding season lasts from early March to late July, and chicks are often found in a nest well into August. During this period, blackbirds rear 2-3 broods. In a good year, fourth broods may be attempted. Weather determines the timing of the breeding season.

The normal clutch size is 3-5. Larger clutches are laid in woodland than in gardens. The female incubates alone, and the chicks hatch 13-14 days later. Only the female broods the chicks, but both parents feed them. Chicks in gardens are fed on earthworms when they are available; woodland chicks are fed mainly on caterpillars.

The chicks are ready to fledge at 13-14 days, if the nest is disturbed, they can leave and survive as early as nine days old. This ability to fledge early is an important anti-predator adaptation. The young birds creep and flutter from the nest, and remain in nearby cover for the following few days.

Meet The birds

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Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Last Song Of The Day - The Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Song Thrush seeem to use the Tall Pylons closed to the River to allow their song to reverberate around the nearby Nature reserve

The Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Song Thrushes or "Throstle"  have a bank of a  hundred or so phrases, selecting from these randomly and typically repeating each phrase several times over. The Mistle Thrush is a more melancholy song . As a general rule Song Thrushes fly lower from Branch to branch , Mistle Thrushes like higher perches to resound their voice

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Life In The Willow Carr

Dont be too hasty to undermine the value of Willow Scrub. The Early Flowering Willows provide an ample and urgent supply of food in Spring that begin,  many of our important Food Chains that translate all the way up to your migrant returns such as the chiff Chaff. With the reserve in danger of becoming over used these areas give wildlife an opportunity to  retreat.  Upward of 450 species have been recorded in association with Willow in many diverse forms  here is a small selection from our Records  It is important as it stabilises riverbanks and gives cover to birds, otters and other water-associated animals. It increases the diversity of flora and fauna (biodiversity). Willow and alder support more varieties of insect than any other tree apart from oak, and the roots give shelter to fish. The abundance of insect life also provides food for fish.or amphibia.

Today Fri 11th April , First Generation Commas and Peacocks where seen feeding and flying. the Comma in Particular  on Willow. Orange Tips are also evident on the corridors of Brassicacae ( Flowers in the Cabbage Family) around the River and Carr boundaries .  The dwindling melancholy song of Willow Warbler was also noted and the call of the Chiff Chaff unmistakeable

The Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler 26884

Willow Warbler 26897

Comma Willow 26409

Comma Willow 26408

In one particular area good Numbers of Andrena clarkella where seen feeding on the day and a week previous. Amongst the tufted mosses and leaf litter a Nomadic Bees where also present , - a specific parasitic relationship being present.. Amongst the Bryophytes ( Mosses) om damp conditions around the Spagnum Hoverflies utilise the leaf detritus and standing water , noted where Eristalis tenax , E. Pertinax and Syrphus spp. The grasses and carr floor contained also large numbers of Lycosid Spider and Red Ant where also noted

Andrena fulva 26425

These Carrs also are low lying in relation to the river water table and the old fly ash / gravel excavations and therefore hold damp and shady conditions on hot arid days , many people associate our Newts with Ponds but these amphibia can spend a lot of time in suitable terrestrial habitat like the Tag Cut Base and Damp Carrs

The Common Frog Rana temporaria and Newts avail of the humidity layer retained by over vegetation on the hot exposed days whem they occurr at Cromwell

Frog 27184

In the reserve Grey Willow give some rise to very special circumstances which encourage two particularly important plants which have a relationship , with fungi specific to Grey Willow. Of course that is before you enumerate the Lichens , bryophytes and other overlooked plants and animals

Shrews and small animals are also found. Because in the habitat management compartments these Carrs have reached succession does not in the least mean they are any less productive in their  ecology or contribution to all of the habitat Mosaics in general .

Peacock Carr 26435

Frog 27184

2299 Mouse Moth Amphipyra tragopoginis

Caterpillar 29547

This is the Caterpillar (June 2014)  of the Mouse Moth whose larvae may feed or depend on Willow. The caterpillars feed on a variety of herbaceous plants, including the flowers, as well as trees such as sallow(Salix) 

Other Moths include the Willow Beauty 

Willow Dependent Moths

Willow Beauty Moth
Willow Aphid

Hoverflies ( Various On willow pollen
Eristalis tenax
Eristalis pertinax


Bryophytes - Mosses & Liverworts

These simple plants with shallow roots and limitted vascular system reliant on the damp humid conditions in the ground layers provided by moisture retention and shade

Carr Trees can accomodate interesting scarce bryophytes and should not be felled. In addition care should be taken not to defoliate too  many trees around them so that the important bryophytes which like humid conditions are then exposed to too much unaccustomed sun and thus heat and drying-out. The leafy liverworts will be particularly sensitive to lack of humidity.

Crescent Cup Liverwort
Thyme leaved Harts Tongue Moss
Swan Necked Thyme Moss
Rough Leaved Feather Moss
Common Feather Moss
Spagnhum Spp

Xanthoria parietus

Fungi & Micro Fungi

Birch Woodwart - Hypoxylon multiforme
Candlesnuff Fungus - Xylaria hypoxylon 

Here is a list of NOTABLE INVERTEBRATE SPECIES associated with the habitat of WET WOODLAND

The Palmate Newt Lissotriton helveticus

Palmate Newt 26270


The palmate newt is a small species, males reaching only about 8.5 cm and females 9.5 cm. The base colour of both sexes is olive-green or brown, and a dark mask-like line runs across the head through the eyes; males and some females have a dark spotting on their backs.

Palmate Newt 26262
Sometimes confused with the Smooth Newt, the palmate does not have the spotted throat of the smooth newt, but both sexes have yellow or pale-orange bellies that can show some spotting.

Palmate Newt 26272

The male has webbed hind feet and a low, smooth crest along the back that continues into a slightly higher crest on the tail, ending in a thread-like tip during the breeding season of April - May. Males can also have enlarged cloacal regions when close to breeding due to the spermatophores exerting pressure on the cloacal tissue. The crest and filament become less obvious and may disappear at other times when they become terrestrial. Males also have marked dorsolateral ridges, giving them a rather square cross-section. Females grow to 10 cm (4 in) and males to 8.5 cm (3.3 in). During the breeding season, they are active during the day, as well as night, but outside this period, activity is restricted to rainy or humid nights.

All of our newts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, prohibiting trade in any of the three species. Declines have been observed in all three species, probably a result of the loss of many ponds across the UK


All of our newts leave hibernation in February or March, returning to ponds for breeding. Weedy ponds without fish are favoured. Weeds provide refuge for newts as well as providing egg-laying locations - on the undersides of leaves. The distribution of palmate newts seems to be influenced by a preference for shallow, soft water pools on acid soils. For palmate newts and great crested newts it is also important to have undisturbed terrestrial habitat around the ponds, providing refuge and good feeding sites. Common newts seem less concerned by the quality of the surrounding habitat.

Common newts are the most terrestrial of the three species, often being found far from water during the summer, when the breeding season is over. Palmate newts also spend much of the summer in terrestrial habitats. Great crested newts spend most of their time around ponds, although a lot of this will be spent on the surrounding land rather than in the water. Outside of the breeding season all three newt species are nocturnal, taking refuge in damp environments such as burrows, compost heaps or under stones during the day. These are also prime hibernation sites for the winter months.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Coelotes atropos - A Sheet Lace Weaver

A new Find for the Reserve

Coelotes 26251

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