We have some exciting news! Work on the bottom half of Whirlow Playing Fields (of Limb Lane) will begin on the first week of July as part of our Nature-based Solutions Demonstration Project. The works fall under our partnership project with the Environment Agency, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.
We are going to daylight the drainage that underlies the bottom half of the fields, below the pitches. We will in effect be creating some stream and pond like habitats but bringing the subterranean water system to the surface.
Works will have a flood management benefit, in addition to wildlife creation benefit. Currently, drainage which has been establish in recent years keeps the pitches dry but delivers excess water quickly directly into Limb Brook. By building a series of ponds, we will be able to hold some of the water during high flow events to slowly release water into the Limb Brook. This allows water to move downstream at a more steady release rate, rather than as a large surge after rainfall.
► 6 (6x12m) ponds a bund will be created. These will hold some water all of the time, but have the capacity to hold greater amounts during periods of wet weather.
► A series of open channels or ‘swales’ will take water from one pond to another and fill up with loving plants. Crossing points over the swales will cross footpaths.
► Underground drainage will be brought to the surface to supply the ponds. Water will reach the river much slower when moving through the pond system than when moving through the underground drainage system.
Works will begin in July and take a few weeks.
What will you see in the short term? Initially, the work may appear drastic and you will see diggers and moving vehicles within the open site. In addition to bare ground where ponds and swales have been created, you may see vehicle tracks. We will reseed and plant the bare areas via community planting days & the works will quickly provide a benefit for wildlife. Ecologists have been consulted to make sure we are working safely with nearby wildlife.
The pond to the south will be start following nesting bird season.
What will you see in the Long Term- As there will be new environment types onsite, the ponds and swales will vegetate up and provide wildlife habitats, attracting birds and insects. The species of plants in the wetter areas will differ from those elsewhere.
During and after heavy rainfall events the ponds and swales will fill with additional water which will be slowly released. This will provide a flood management benefit for communities downstream as the amount of water rushing down the river system all at once is reduced.
Citizen Science Monitoring To monitor change on site and flood benefits, we will be installing ‘fixed point photography’ citizen science monitoring posts. We welcome all the data and photos you can send from these posts.
I apologise for any disruption caused to your walking routes. If you require any further information please contact myself (Leo Ingvorsen) at Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust on 0114 263 4335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whirlow planting opportunity
Once works are complete as shown in the construction plan maps attached, we will ask you to come and help us plant where we have been working with wildflowers, grasses and wetland species.
Please watch this space for dates!
Photo monitoring – installed and ongoing.
Our first citizen science post monitoring posts are now installed at Lady Cannings Plantation. If you want to help contribute to our citizen science photo-monitoring project, you can find the posts at Lady Cannings Plantation here:
Thank you to those of you who came along to get your hands dirty installing the posts, and thanks to those of your that have been busy snapping away and sending in data after discovering the signs before I have announced them here!
Posts 1-3 have been the busiest, with no images of post 4 through the mailbox yet!
A reminder that we are interested in photos from any time, any weather, any season. Bonus points for snaps in and after rainy periods as the ponds adjust to the water. We will use these photo to see how the ponds change over time in terms of water capacity and habitats.
Our citizen science and project website is to be found here. It is currently being beefed up and updated.
More photo monitoring sign post opportunity
We are going to dig in our remaining photo-monitoring post throughout the Limb Valley and Ecclesall woods and would like to welcome you along to help us. If you are free on either the 19th, 26th and 27th July, and fancy coming along, please let me know ASAP. There will be some digging and lifting as post are dug and set.
Riverfly opportunity – Autumn!
We are looking for riverfly volunteers in coming months. If creepy crawlies excite you, please register your interest!
For the next round of surveying we would like your help. If you would like to catch river bugs then identify and count them (warning, there is more than you think) please watch this space. Actual date will be advise by river levels at the time but this will take place early September and are likely to be a couple of sessions over a weekday.
That’s all for today. I hope you have all been enjoying the weather around our beautiful brook.
Kind regards, Leo Ingvorsen.
On Behalf of Sheffield City Council, The Environment Agency, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.