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Letting the Light in

Monday, 19th November 2001, West Yorkshire

heatherON STONEY LANE Chapelthorpe one of the old stone built houses carries the inscription 'ID 1754'. We cross the fields to Seckar Heath where we walk across the most extensive patch of heather moor near Wakefield. Gorse and Petty Whin also grow here. larch needles on the pathThe heath is managed to encourage these species. Oak and birch saplings are cleared to prevent the heath turning into woodland. 'Plant a Tree' is a familiar slogan but conservation sometimes demands their removal to allow other plants to thrive.

We cross the Barnsley Road and follow Lawns Dike down towards Newmillerdam Lake, walking over a springy carpet of needles under closely planted Larches.

owl carving There's some felling going on at the moment, near the lakeside path. The foresters have carved one larch stump into a lifelike, if oversized, tawny owl.

larch cones I remember, perhaps 10 or 15 years ago, the shock of seeing a slope by the lake cleared of its conifers, leaving tall slender broadleaves standing. For the first time it was possible to stand by the lake and see walkers on the upper path.

Today, where conifers once cut out the light, a dense copse of native broadleaves has grown up. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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