Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Wednesday, 17th October, 2007
PURPLE TOADFLAX grows from an old rock face at Johnson's Wellfield Quarries, south west of Huddersfield. The sandstone weathers to produce acid soil, which suits the heather that grows amongst the rocks.
As you follow the track out of the quarry, towards Huddersfield airfield, the view opens out and you turn your back on the mill towns that crowd the valley bottoms and the densely wooded slopes overlooking them. In the space of half a mile, climbing the incline of the dip slope, you feel as if you're entering a new landscape; the Pennine moor tops begin to take up your field of vision.
We take a look at Johnson's Airfield Quarry, where a large amount of overburden has been removed in order to get at the good flaggy sandstones below. The overburden consists of layers of shale.
In the afternoon we take a look at the rocks of Beaumont Park, a mile from Wellfield Quarries.
There's a rushy pool at the foot of the rock face where formerly there was a small cascade of water draining from the fields above. Following building and surface drainage this cascade has dried up although another cascade, a Victorian garden feature, has recently been restored to working order.
An elaborate gateway was built at the lower end of the park and there are now plans to restore it and to open up the woodland by selective thinning to allow light through the tree canopy. This, and control of the dense rhododendron bushes should encourage woodland flowers to spread.