D Pelaw Wood Beck Dene

Topography:
Deep steep-sided ravine opening out at each end

Aspect:
The dene runs roughly east to west and is densely shaded by trees.

General Description:
A dark wood richly vegetated with swathes of wood anemones and bluebells. The eastern part is more open with marshy areas.

Features:
Pelaw Wood Beck runs along the bottom of the dene from west to east. The source of the Beck is a drain outflow at the eastern end. The Beck has very little flow except after heavy rain. The Beck starts as the outflow of a drain which comes underground from the Moorlands and Musgrave Gardens. Alongside the Beck is a drainpipe encased in concrete. The north side of the dene would have been identical in shape to the south side; however between the 1870s to the 1920s this side was used as an ash tip for the city and later the east side of the bridge was used by Wood & Watson’s Mineral Water Works as a tip for their broken bottles.

The Silverlink footbridge spans the dene. This bridge was opened on 12 April 1938. Constructed by the Cleveland Bridge Company of Darlington, the cost of the steel work being £805. Designed by Mr J.W.Green, City Surveyor and Engineer, it was based on the one which spans the Zambezi River.

Soil:
Deep leaf mould

Grasses:
Wood millet (Milium effusum)
Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia caespitosa)
Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata)
Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus)
Soft rush (Juncus effusus)

Ferns:
Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)

Mosses:
Sphagnum mosses in the marshy areas

Lichens:
On the bark of some trees

Fungi:

How could the area be improved:
There is much rubbish in the ravine and in the Beck which needs to be cleared regularly. The Beck could be dammed near its outfall into the River Wear in order to create a pond and wetland for wildlife.

Trees and Shrubs
•Oak (Quercus robur)
•Beech (Fagus sylvactica)
•Silver birch (Betula pendula)
•Elm (Ulmus procera)
•Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
•White willow (Salix alba)
•Crack willow (Salix fragilis)
•Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
•Blackthorn (Prunus)
•Elder (Sambucus nigra)
•Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
•Yew (Taxus baccata)
•Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
•Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
•Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
•Ivy (Hedera helix)
•Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)

Plants
•Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus)
•Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
•Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)
•Wood avens (Geum urbanum)
•Ransons (Allium ursinum)
•Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)
•Dog’s mercury (Mercurialis perennis)
•Cleavers (Galium aparine)
•Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
•Red campion (Silene dioica)
•Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
•Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense)
•Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
•Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
•Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
•Rosebay willowherb (Chamaerion angustifolium)
•Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)

Invertibrates

Mammals
•Mole (Talpa europaea)

Birds

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