The bridge here was provided by Leeds City Council, to help us replace the old bridge that used to be damaged by the frequent winter flooding at this point. This is shown by the abundance of willows (Salix species), trees that love wet land. Over the other side of the bridge, the land was used in the past as a rhubarb patch.
The beck here comes from round the corn mill. It may follow the original line of the beck before the mill was built, but when the mill was operational it would have carried water round the mill when it was not in use and also have received the water that had driven the millstones.
The banks of the beck are covered by the invasive plant, Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). This is an annual species that came originally, as the name indicates, from the Himalayas. It spreads very rapidly, particularly on riverbanks. Because it is a tall plant, and grows in dense stands, it crowds out other species. The roots are shallow, and as the plant dies down in the autumn the presence of dense stands gives exposed soils in the winter months that can be washed away by flooding. Its replacement of indigenous plant species and its tendency to increase the erosion risk make it an environmental hazard, although it does actually constitute a food source for honey bees and some bumble bee species in the late summer. It is a notifiable weed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act that landowners have an obligation to control, so the management committee arrange ‘balsam bashing’ mornings or afternoons every summer. The children of Pool School also help to remove the plants.
In the autumn of this year it is hoped to create a meadow in this area. The area in the bottom field adjacent to the bridge will be scarified and seeds planted in late October. If you wish to be involved, leave a reply on the website.