The Buckley Society Logo

Bird hide and viewing and dipping platform"

Brookhill Pond Site, Buckley

August 2002

The following is the editorial by the secretary of the Deeside Urban Wildlife Group in "Wildlife Matters" Summer 2003 Issue Number 32




Flintshire is full of holes in the ground: those active and continuing to make huge scars on the landscape, the worked out and dormant which have been taken over by nature, and those that have been used to accommodate the vast amounts of waste we all generate. When I stand on Halkyn and think about the hundreds of years that man has been extracting minerals there, I wonder what it must originally have looked like, and how long can we keep taking from the ground.


I grew up living near to 'holes in the ground' - they were secret areas providing adventure and discovery for children. We were drawn like magnets to them despite warnings of possible dangers. I have lasting memories of many happy days sliding and sledging down slag heaps, and fishing in deep pools - where I first came in contact with Great crested newts.


I felt that same sense of discovery when I was first on one of Jim Bentley's historical walks round Buckley. We had walked through the woodland along the route of The Old Buckley Line from Liverpool Road, and left the path going through the trees to come out on an open grassy mound above the disused Brookhill Quarry. Trees surrounding the deep clear blue pool and the sun lit up the steep stony slopes - a wonderful secret place. Of course it wasn't such a secret place to many people in Buckley. Jim taught canoeing there, and local children dived into its deep waters from the top of the highest cliff.


Brookhill Quarry was not to remain this way - in the '90s its appearance started to change, gradually preparing it for its next role as a landfill site. This was not surprising, many of the clay holes in the area having been used for this purpose. But Brookhill was going to be a bit different because of its amphibian population, creating something new in Buckley, and probably at the time, unique in the Country.


In January 1997 I watched the bulldozers as they started work to develop a new pond site specially for the Brookhill Great crested newts. The bulldozers moved across the site, their buckets excavating large hole in the ground, transforming a meadow into a pondscape of twenty ponds - to provide a hectare of open water. The new pools were filled with water from the quarry pool, and rocks from the quarry were placed in and around the ponds - everything to make the amphibians feel at home. It was a wonderful feeling some months later, going down in late evening to see newts swimming happily in the water and sitting on the rocks.


That was the beginning, and in the years since I have had great pleasure from watching the site settle into the landscape and the amphibians thrive, and it has been exciting to find other wildlife discovering this 'des res'. A dog fox is a permanent resident, and can often be seen basking in the sun by one of the pools, and one night we were surprised to see a Water Shrew - an animal not often seen. Bats swoop over the ponds and along the edge of the woodland after the many flying insects. In Spring and Summer House Martins and Swallows fly low over the ponds, several pairs of Snipe have moved in and Coot and Mallard rear their young. In 2001 we were delighted to find Reed Buntings nesting in the Typha. Grass snakes are often seen, and occasionally an adder. Water Vole holes were found in 2000 and the animals seen occasionally since. Each year more wildflowers appear amongst the grasses - in May this year 26 species were recorded in flower.


And now I can sit in the birdhide (installed Summer 2002) and glory in watching what can come from a 'hole in the ground'!


Author: Perry, Pip


Year = 2002

Month = August

Building = Other

Landscape = Natural

Extra = 2000s

Copyright © 2015 The Buckley Society