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Waddens Brook/The Bank, Fibbersley

Kingfisher Photo
This site is situated on derelict land with a number of pools and colliery spoil heaps. There is unimproved grassland, scrub and marsh. The pools have a number of interesting plants associated with them, including celery-leaved buttercup, fool's watercress, water plantain, spike rush, broadleaved, curly and fennel pondweed, branched bur-reed and iris. The Waddens Brook site in Wolverhamton has alders and willows growing around some of the pools, whereas the Banks site in Walsall has been planted with a mixture of broom, and crack-willow around the recent pond at the northern end. Such species as brown sedge, false fox-sedge, oval sedge, triffid bur-marigold also grow in association with the pools.
The unimproved neutral grassland is grazed and great burnet is present which is uncommon in the locality. The marshy areas support jointed rush, hard rush, lady's smock, brown sedge and common sedge. Areas of spoil heap are colonised by hawthorn, elder, broom, wavy hair-grass, sallow and dog-rose.
To the south-west on The Banks site, there is a valley which floods during winter and there is an extensive area of soft-rush, but at the southern end of the valley a small patch of harestail cotton-grass grows.
Herons have been sighted at the ponds and the patchy scrub provides a favourable habitat for birds, such as willow warbler, linnet and yellowhammer. Frogs, toads and great crested newts are also known to breed at this site, and both dragonflies and damselflies are abundant around the well colonised ponds.
Management Recommendations
Waddens Brook: some of the ponds are beginning to silt up and would benefit from digging out. Some suffer from shading by trees, particularly willows. The willows could be coppiced or pollarded. The meadows tend to be overgrazed and ideally, less grazing pressure would enhance the value of the area.
The hawthorn scrub is a valuable habitat for birds and since it does not cover an extensive area, should be left as it is.
The Urban Wildlife Group have advised on management of the Banks site in the past and should be consulted on future occasions.