River Westend, Bleaklow Moors
About this image
Many of the forestry plantations along the valley of the River Westend were, as illustrated here, stocked with conifers. Planted broadleaf-trees were rare. These plantations were mostly the work of the water authority following construction of three reservoirs a short distance to the east, along Derwent Dale. In forestry terms, these areas would be the 'first rotation' (i.e. the first trees to be planted here). Less obvious were occasional clumps of native broadleaf-trees scattered throughout the plantations, the sites of which pre-dated the planted trees. Quite a few of these relics were 'in check' (i.e. having their growth surpressed) due to shading from the closely-spaced and faster-growing conifers. Where light permitted the establishment of vegetation on the woodland floor, trespassing sheep discouraged both natural regeneration (i.e. the development of self-set seedling trees) and fruiting by the various species of flowers and grasses. Despite this, since the date of the photograph, the resilience of these semi-natural communities has seen their survival into future decades, and a more sympathetic management philosophy. (Information kindly supplied by Mr J A Thickitt who was employed as a wildlife surveyor in this area).