In terms of wildlife, Ten Acres is a veritable haven, with much of the site receiving little in the way of footfall or disturbance - a single, unkempt and at times muddy path being the only option of traverse, with thorny blackthorn either side keeping walkers on track. Therefore there is little 'off the beaten track' exploitation.
|East side of the River Rea|
East bank -
On the east side of the river we have another largely undisturbed swathe of land, containing grassland scrub and tall herbaceous vegetation, together with a number of planted fruit trees. Bullfinches thrive here, feeding on the early spring blossoms.
The site as a whole (east and west of river) is therefore rich in both plant and animal species, and a great asset to the neighbouring residents. The east side also contains the Rea Valley Cycle Route with many of the users passing by without a glance. There's not much scope here for loitering with the intent on wildlife, as attention is required on the speedy two wheel passers by. It might be that an 'off track' option for walkers would be desirable - just a thought. Management of the existing fruit trees together with the addition of other types has also been suggested - these ideas can be achieved with a rally call to volunteers and with little or no financial cost.
In my opinion, the site, presumably close to 10 acres to the west with similar to the east, is unique along the Rea Valley, having both heritage and wildlife appeal, with enough diversity of habitat to make it significant both locally and regionally. For much of its course the Rea is encroached upon right to the water's edge on one side or the other, either by buildings, other hard surfacing, pathways or mown grass, but here we have a substantial area of unmanaged floodplain, rich in riparian vegetation and little in the way of daily human impact.
|Flea Beetles (Andy Slater images)|
|A Bee Fly (Andy Slater)|
Many invertebrate species thrive at Ten Acres
|A variety of hoverflies at Ten Acres by Andy Slater|
|Looking downstream along the west bank|
|Looking downstream from Ten Acres footbridge|
|Butterflies of Ten Acres by Andy Slater|