Old Finningley and Brooks Wood, Hurst Plantation
28th April 2021
Leaders : John Scott and Kay McDowell
The site known as ‘Old Finningley’ is an old RAF airfield base which was turned into Doncaster Sheffield airport in 2005. It is possible to see planes taking off but we were there to spot plants not aeroplanes. The site is dry, open sandy soil providing conditions for small annuals worth getting on your hands and knees for.
After lunch we drove a couple of miles to Hurst Plantation and an area called Brooks Wood which is a mixed plantation woodland on sandy soil. In the next field we noticed a farmer chain harrowing, throwing up large clouds of dust, which reminded us of the last few months of very dry weather. Hurst Plantation is a former sand quarry which has been allowed to regenerate naturally and includes some areas of open water. Amongst the woodland we recorded sanicle (Sanicula europaea) with its attractive palmately-lobed leaves, a first record for this tetrad, and hard-fern (Blechnum spicant), a rare sight in this part of South Yorkshire. Further round we recorded yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), slender trefoil (Trifolium micranthum) and heath wood-rush (Luzula multiflorum) not quite in flower yet. In another wet area under willow scrub we saw sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus) and pill sedge (Carex pilulifera).
Photo credits : little mouse-ear photo by Jesse Tregale all others by Kay Woodward