Darnford Moors Ecology Park Feature

The Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are on a mission to restore one of the region’s great lost canals.  During this process, the Trust are keen to create safe spaces for nature to do its thing.  One of the most recent spaces to open up to the public, is one of the Trust’s oldest pieces of land – Darnford Moors Ecology Park.  This stretch of the lost canal has been impacted by the A38, HS2 and has a natural brook to contend with, making it a complex problem for the trust to deal with.  Thanks to years of hard work and contributions from various agencies and businesses, the Trust have been able to recreate a stretch of the canal, divert it along a revised path, cross Darnford Brook, and turn it into a much-needed wildlife haven.

After hearing the news that the new ‘Darnford Moors Ecology Park’ had opened to the public, Team Hedgehog took a walk around the park one sunny bank holiday afternoon.

 

Our Visit to Darnford Moors Ecology Park

After driving a short distance down Darnford lane in Lichfield, we spotted Darnford Moors Golf Club.  Directly next door to the club we could see a small gravel car park (just big enough for 2-3 cars).  Having parked up, we started to walk the new circular 1k route and instantly we noticed two things: the first, just how nice it looked, there was a large gravel footpath encircling water, that will become part of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal. The second was an inquisitive Common Raven that had flown close to us and appeared to be enjoying a drink of water from a puddle, atop a pile of large concrete blocks that are being stored by the trust for use on a later project.

Darnford Moors Ecology Park Entrance Sign

 

Information boards are placed along the route informing visitors of the route, the wildlife you could expect to see and how the canal came about, along with Trust information.

Duck Family

Carrying on with our walk, we soon noticed some movement in the water.  On closer inspection we could see several Tadpoles; a sign that the local frog population had already discovered this serene stretch of water.  Walking down with the golf club on our left, we could see a coppice across the water (more on that soon).   We then spotted a duck family casually swimming, with the little ducks craning their necks upwards to gobble up some of the gnats hovering over the water.

Handily placed benches sit alongside the water if you want to rest a while and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.  Lichfield locals might recognise these as repurposed from one of Lichfield’s supermarkets!

We then came to the black and white lift bridge that allowed us to cross the canal and start our return leg of the walk.   Just here we could take a good look at Darnford Brook and see how it passed under the canal.  Continuing our walk we could see the hedgerow framed by a row of Forget-me-nots, where there were lots of happy looking bees enjoying the flowers.  It was not long until we came across the wooded coppice, with its carpet of bluebells shining vibrantly in the spring sunshine.  This part of the park is an original section of the canal and the trust have left one of the original locks exposed for visitors to experience.  Having explored the coppice we continued our walk spotting a pair of white wagtails near the water’s edge.  With that we were back at the car park and had finished walking the circular route.

It is clear a lot of planning, love and attention has gone into creating an outdoor space, that is as good for us humans, as it is for the wildlife.  It is great to see that, even at this early stage, nature seems to have moved in and made itself at home.  We look forward to seeing how the site matures over the months and years to come.  Well done Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

Here are some more pics on our flickr account.

Darnford Moors Ecology Park

Darnford Moors Ecology Park

Words Garry & Jenny

Photos Garry & Jenny

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