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Calder Park

Monday, 5th January 2004
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Pugneys Country Park
The area as it was a few years ago; 'Calder Park' is the area to the left of the Denby Dale Road.

swansAs we get to the highest point on the soap waste mound by the Calder there's as wooshing of pinions just above us and over go six swans, on their way to the lake that's been left by sand and gravel extraction.

A huge flock - easily hundreds but to me it looks like a thousand, even two thousand, it's so difficult to estimate such numbers - of
golden plover
gets up from the flat at the edge of the lake and circles, along with a smaller number of lapwings and gulls.

lapwingsI'm glad that the golden plover are still wintering here as they did in previous years as the most impressive wildlife spectacle you're likely to see in the Wakefield area. Old Moor Wetland near Barnsley attracts increasing numbers and I thought our Wakefield birds might have gone there in preference.

Gravel extraction at Grange Farm is now coming to an end. On a mound of unsorted sand and pebbles by the track we spot granite and quartz pebbles amongst the predominently local sandstone.

Boat House Farm

boathouse farmI'm sorry to see that two historic farms have vanished. All that is left of Boat House Farm which had an old stone flag-roofed barn (which might have been the original farmhouse) - is a couple of groups of shrubs, marking where the gardens were.

Nearby Grange Farm had a barn which was remarkable for the flaggy sandstone used in the construction of it's walls. I was astonished to see that it had gone, it was such an impressive and historic building, perhaps 150 or 200 years old.

Still standing at Grange Farm is a wall made of unusual handmade bricks, each the size of a cereal packet. I guess these would have to be at least a hundred years old, more like 150. It probably once enclosed the stable yard or piggeries but now serves as a hopper for piles of sand and gravel.

Calder ParkWhen the gravel is dug out and the landscape restored Calder Park, as it will be called, will boast over a million square feet of office space. It's a shame that the farms can't be a part of that but it looks as if the part of the site they are on is to be used as washland in times of flood. next page

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Calder Park

Richard Bell

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