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About the venue
About the venue
The nature reserve is hidden at the back of a cul-de-sac called The Coppice, off Sunny Bank Road in Mirfield. It's small size, unusual location i.e. in the corner of the cul-de-sac between two houses, and lack of parking means that it is not a site which can support many visitors and is generally only visited by local residents. There is no parking available due to the surrounding housing and it is recommended that anyone wishing to visit the site should park outside of The Coppice and walk through the cul-de-sac to reach it to avoid blocking in local residents.
Features and Management
The nature reserve covers an area of approximately 1400 m2 and is managed by Kirklees Metropolitan Council and is divided into two distinct areas, a mini parkland area with mature trees and a short circular path, and the two sunken man-made pits that make up the wetland area. These rectangular pits with brick walls and concrete bases are enclosed behind a fence for the public's health and safety. The left brick pit houses a pond while the right pit makes up a drier grassland area with willow and tall herbs. Management of the site also forms part of the Kirklees Countryside Volunteers' calendar of events to regulate the growth of fast-growing plants such as Willow, Flag Iris and Bull rush.
Sunny Bank Ponds Local Nature Reserve was formerly part of a cloth mill on an estate belonging to Nick House, which became known as Nick House Mill. Prior to this it is thought it had been part of the open moorland of Mirfield Moor. In 1841 Nick House was occupied by a clothier and the ponds' function was likely to have been associated with the washing and dying of cloth. A small factory was built between 1854 and 1907. The 1907 OS map shows the site is the location of Crossley Mills Dye and Co, which operated until 1933. The pond is thought to be part of the industrial dyeing process developed for the Crossley Family's carpet manufacturing company and was likely to be a storage facility, reservoir or cooling tank for the 'hot water technique' which requires large volumes of water. The Crossley Family's business reached a peak in the later part of the 1800's but began to decline by the 1930's and 40's and the mill was eventually replaced by the current housing development in the early 1990's.
The pond area is home to a large population of smooth newts, frogs and toads. Other wildlife attracted to the pond include many species of garden birds, foxes, deer, pipistrelle bats and other small mammals, all of which use the pond as a feeding area.
The pond is managed to maintain a variety of plant species and wet and dry areas to encourage minibeasts, which in turn attracts other wildlife. This management is vital due to the small size of the pond area as Willow and Flag Iris can easily monopolise and dry out the valuable marshy areas on this site.
The western side of the nature reserve is bordered by a thin belt of wood and scrub with an old landfill site beyond. The landfill site is currently being regenerated as a country park by Kirklees Metropolitan Council, which should serve as a useful link to the nature reserve and allow for better distribution of wildlife populations.
The pond was surveyed in June 2003 for wetland plants and invertebrates. The pond supports a moderately rich number of wetland plant and invertebrate species although the number of species for both has dropped slightly since a previous survey in 1999. This may be due to changes in the plant communities on site providing a poorer habitat. The pond also dried out in the summer of 2003 allowing rampant growth of the invasive Floating Pennywort across the site. Management of this species is very difficult and regular clearance by hand is the only recommended method of removal.
Sunny Bank Ponds Local Nature Reserve,
Countryside Unit, Street Scene
Flint Street Offices
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Ecology survey of Sunny Bank Ponds
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