Long Eaton - Forbes Hole LNR
w/e 06 April 2014
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Forbes Hole LNR Sign

There are several Local Nature Reserves within Erewash Borough and Forbes Hole is situated in the midst of an industrial area off Field Farm Road in Long Eaton.

Forbes Hole LNR

As we pulled onto the car park at Forbes Hole Local Nature Reserve it was in the middle of a hail storm which meant that we sat in the car for about 20 minutes until the storm had passed.

When the worst of the storm was over we hurried through the trees with water still dripping from the branches above and crossed a path through an area of grassland which is seen here looking back from the far end. The reserve contains a number of different wildlife habitats as well as grassland and includes open water, scrubland and woodland.

The open water is in a series of linked ponds and I carefully descended the bank to a boardwalk at the far end of the grassland to reach the water's edge. Steps had previously been cut in the bank but the mild wet winter appears to have eroded the steps and left a bumpy, slippery slope instead. The boardwalk too has suffered and a number of the protective wooden slats were missing. No doubt the Friends of Forbes Hole Volunteer Group who care for and help maintain the site have repairs high on their list of priorities.
Pussy Willow

Carefully negotiating the boardwalk I spotted a couple of dark coloured birds that could have been coots or moorhens but they disappeared at my approach into the reeds before I could positively identify them. The pussy willow overhanging the pond was more amenable to having a photo taken.

Rejoining my wife on the grassland we made our way to the eastern edge of the site which is bounded by a high fence beyond which is a railway line. The ponds in the Forbes Hole site were created by the construction of the line in 1839 when gravel was extracted from a series of borrow pits for use as ballast and the building of railway embankments. The resulting holes subsequently filled with flood water.
Willow Carr

The path along the eastern edge overlooks another of the reserves' habitats, that of a Willow Carr, "Carr" being the name for a wet marshy woodland. According to information on a board at the side of the path, this part of the reserve used to be covered in shallow water but recent dry summers and domestic and commercial demand for water has resulted in the area being much drier. At the moment however, the ground looks particularly muddy.

The site is roughly triangular in shape and was once surrounded on all sides by railway lines. Now only the eastern side is adjacent to the railway and the other two sides are bounded by industrial developments. We turned at the northernmost point of the Reserve to walk between a narrow area designated as scrub on the right which separates the path from the industry, and dry woodland to the left separating the path from the pond.

There are various points along the path where it is possible to pass through the woodland to reach the edge of the water but like the black birds seen earlier, this trio of ducks preferred to swim away rather than towards me.
More Willow

I thought that I would have to resort to the pussy willow again which was hanging in profusion over the water.

But then I was rewarded for my patience when a solitary swan decided I was no threat and swam towards me to investigate. The site although created by man's activity has been taken over by nature and in 1982/83 it was classified as a Grade 1 site on the County Biological Sites Register and in 1991 it was adopted as Erewash Borough Council's first Local Nature Reserve. It is also one of only four locations in the country to contain Water Violet and while this may not have been the best time of the year to visit the site especially so soon after the hail storm, it is an important natural haven in the midst of an industrial landscape.

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