The design brief for the landscape architect was to create a site imitating the type of terrain that was common to the area prior to the industrial use of the land. This is of course an imprecise concept and inevitably the compromises necessary for use as a public open space prevented an agricultural style arrangement.
What has been achieved is a practical arrangement providing screening to the adjacent industrial park and a series of meadows that can accommodate public activity. The copses are all small in area, but careful arrangement and variable plan profiles add, from most vantage points, to an illusion of more continuous woodland than is the case.
The copses were planted with native broadleaf trees and shrubs, as listed below, but Scotts pine was used in three copses and larch in two. Records of the mix used in each copse seem to be inaccurate.
|Acer campestre||Field Maple||Mainly used at perimeters|
|Alnus glutinosa||Alder||Successful, enjoying wet conditions|
|Alnus incana||Italian Alder||Successful, enjoying wet conditions|
|Betula pendula||Birch||Well established|
|Betula pubescens||Downy Birch||Limited planting only|
|Corylus avellana||Hazel||Limited planting only|
|Crataegus monogyna||Hawthorn||Predominantly used as hedging. Single specimens struggle in wet soil|
|Ilex aquifolium||Holly||Few planted in most compartments|
|Larix decidua||Larch||Planted in two compartments|
|Malus sylvestris||Crab Apple||Limited numbers planted in three compartments|
|Pinus sylvestris||Scott’s Pine||Planted in two compartments|
|Populus tremula||Aspen||Widely planted. Enjoying wet sites|
|Quercus petraea||Sessile Oak||Struggling to complete against faster growing species|
|Rosa canina||Dog Rose||Limited planting at edges of compartments|
|Salix caprea||Goat Willow||Widely planted and dominant|
|Salix cinerea||Grey Willow||Very limited planting but very successful|
|Salix fragilis||Crack Willow||Very limited planting but very successful|
|Sorbus aucuparia||Mountain Ash||In all compartments|
|Viburnum opulus||Guelder Rose||Used very sparsely in all compartments|
Immediately after the original planting, a small group of Quercus robur, English Oak (pendunculate), were planted near the car park to form the Miners Copse.
Species recording by the Friends has determined that Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) and Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra subsp. Salzmanil var. Corsicana) were part of the original planting. Both may have been inadvertently included in the nursery supplied whips, or, wrongly labelled at the nursery.
A short row of Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) exist adjacent the site boundary at the eastern end of Engine Lane. These pre-date the landscape plantings, probably being established during the open-cast works with the intent of screening the coal waste mound that was left above the original ground level.
Additionally, a limited number of mature trees exist adjacent the original watercourses. These include Sycamore (Acer peudopplantanus) which were retained to maintain visual profiles and shade benefit to the established under-storey.
The first major project of the Friends of Colliers Wood (FoCW) was to create an avenue of limes along Engine Lane using Tilia tomentosa, silver lime- non native but visually interesting and located ‘outside’ the main site area.
In January 2011, a few Yew (Taxus baccata) plugs were introduced during an infill planting task. It is not yet apparent if any will survive.
The external perimeter of copses adjacent the industrial park were planted with a mixed species hedgerow dominated by hawthorn.
Additional mixed species hedgerows- dominated by Hawthorn and Blackthorn- were added in March 2010. These are located on the perimeter of three copses and along the Engine Lane boundary specifically to restrict unintentional access routes developing when the existing fencing is removed at a later date.
The seed mix for the meadow areas is not known but the resultant sward appears to be a general utility mix. Specific wildflower areas were seeded. They had limited success and have subsequently been absorbed into the adjacent meadow areas.
Two ponds were formed. These were part of the sites drainage strategy. They were lightly planted with aquatic species that largely perished.
An incoming brook is culverted shortly after entering the site.