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134 MERLIN'S FIELD, WESTFIELD LANE

OS REF:SK578125

HISTORIC NAME: WOODGATE GREEN

Date: 27th July 2002

This piece of land is situated opposite the Rothley Park Cricket Ground and extends from the end of Woodgate to The Ridings. It is a wooded piece of land still with its wild flowers. It is used as a horse paddock and occupied by 'Merlin'. He has a stable, not an original building, which he shares with Suffolk hens.

This piece of land used to be part of a small area of fields used for pasture in the 1960's. Many of the trees were felled further up the field as I remember the day they were cut down in the early 1960's. The land was owned by Corah, the builder, who never got permission to develop it. Hedgerows on the whole piece of land were removed after stubble burning got out of hand and set fire to them as well as some of the trees in the back gardens of houses on Templar Way. The fields were then rented out and used for crops but the small area at the roadside boundary, Merlin's Field, was divided off and preserved.

Merlin's Field slopes down to the road and has interesting contours that will be investigated by Brian Verity, the Rothley Archaeological Warden.

There is a Field Pond surrounded by small trees, which would greatly benefit from conservation work. It is full of leaves and very little light reaches it. The owner says that it is good for frogs. There is a badger sett on the far side of the pond and badgers have been seen. The pond is covered in duck weed but no other vegetation present.

We are measuring most of the trees in this paddock even though some of them will not reach Ancient Tree criteria. It is important to record the site as a whole and not in fragments.

The wild flowers will need to be recorded as there is a good selection.

Date: Thursday 1st August 2002

Visited the Ecology Centre at Holly Hayes in Birstall and spoke to Derek Lott about the field pond. He said to contact him in March next year so that he could schedule a visit in April/May. It seems that even ponds that are full of leaf litter are home to interesting wildlife and it should be looked at before conservation work is started. A diary note has been made.

Date: Wednesday 7th August 2002

Brian Verity, the Rothley Archaeological Warden, was checking out the lumps and bumps in the paddock with a special interest in a possible Roman road that would link up with the Roman Villa at the end of Westfield Lane.

We were looking at the wild flowers and the following list was made:

Dog's Mercury (abundant in the roadside hedgerow)
Self-heal
Red clover
Ragwort
White clover
Meadow buttercup
Daisy
Common sorrel
Cut-leaved cranesbill
Ox-eye daisy
Common poppy
Field forgetmenot
Black meddick
Hedge mustard
Ribwort plantain
Broad-leaved willowherb
Lesser hawkbit
Birdsfoot trefoil
Yarrow
Greater plantain
Lord and Ladies (Wild arum)
Hedge woundwort
Creeping thistle
Rosebay willowherb
Perrenial sow-thistle

Spear thistle
Herb bennet
Germander speedwell
Nettle
White dead-nettle
Garlic mustard
Ground ivy
Lesser burdock
White bryony
Common mouse-ear
Black knapweed
Lady's bedstraw
Herb robert
Black bryony
Red campion
Blackberry
Holly
Ivy
Ground elder
Enchanters nightshade
Nipplewort
Common cleavers
Narrow-leaved birdsfoot trefoil

Dragonflies

Brown Hawker
Southern Hawker

Butterflies

Gatekeeper
Speckled Wood
Small Skipper
Meadow Brown
Green-veined White
Peacock
Large White
Small White

Also, lots of unidentified Hoverflies and other insects especially on the ragwort.

Date:Friday 4th April 2003

Arranged to meet Chris Hill, Conservation Officer with the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, to see if any work was needed to improve the pond for wildlife, Chris said that it was good to have leaf litter in the bottom of a pond for invertebrates so this was not a problem. There was frogspawn very much in evidence. The main item of work, should this be carried out, was the removal of sycamore trees around the pond margins as these create a lot of shade and leaves. The surrounding land is in good condition and good for wildflowers. It could be beneficial to fence off the pond to ensure protection from horses hooves. Management action not a priority so it was good to know that some ponds are best left alone.

Site 134 Working diagram of tree and pond locations. July 2002

Site 134 Looking from The Ridings to Templar Way after storm damage. November 2002

Site 134 Boundary of Templar Way to the right. Looking from Westfield Lane. July 2002

Site 134 Looking to The Ridings. July 2002

Site 134 Looking into Site 180 Stocking Close with Templar Way to the right. July 2002

Site 134 Looking to Westfield Lane by The Triangle. Boundary hedge to house on Woodgate at the bottom of Templar Way. July 2002

Site 134 Remnants of the Ornamental Pond Gardens to Rothley Temple. The Ridings to the left. March 2004

Site 134 Remnants of the Ornamental Pond Gardens to The Temple. The water is still running. The Ridings to the left. March 2004

Site 134 Remnants of the Ornamental Pond Gardens of The Temple. Water still running. The Ridings to the left. March 2004

Site 134. March 2004

Site 134 Pond 8 surrounded by trees. March 2004

Site 134 Pond 15 Temple Pond. Looking to the Rothley Court Hotel (The Temple). This pond was part of the Ornamental Pond Gardens of Rothley Temple. It was known as Horse Pool in 1729 and later known as Temple Pond. It was filled in in the early 1920's as someone was found drowned in it. A pipe was put in to take the flow of water down to the Rothley Brook. This pond is fenced off and surrounded by Dogs Mercury indicating it to be part of ancient woodland. April 2003

Site 134 Looking into Pond 15 from the corner of The Ridings with Westfield Lane. March 2004

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 66 with a girth of 3.6m at SK578125. July 2002

Site 134 Oak Tree 66 looking partly dead March 2007

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 67, centre back, with a girth of 3.7m at SK578125. July 2002

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 68 with a girth of 4.13m at SK578125. July 2002

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 69, centre back, with a girth of4.7m at SK587125. July 2002

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 69 with a of girth of 4.7m in the centre and Ancient Oak Tree 70 extreme left with a girth of 3.7m. July 2002

Site 134 Scots Pine with a girth of 2.7m. July 2002

Site 134 The damaged trunk of Tree 71, often associated with horses. July 2002

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 72 with a girth of 2.84m. July 2002

Site 134 Oak Tree 72 to the left and Oak Tree 74 with a girth of 3.3m centre. August 2002

Site 134 Westfield Lane to the left and looking to The Ridings. Trees 76-87. August 2002

Site 134 Ancient Oak Tree 80 with a girth of 3.3m on the boundary with Westfield Lane. August 2002

Site 134 Looking to The Ridings with trees 80-87. August 2002

Site 134 Ancient Tree 234 wirh a girth of 3.8m in the area of Pond 15 Temple Pond (Horse Pool) at the junction of The Ridings with Westfield Lane. March 2003

Site 134 Pond 8 Merlin's Field Pond. April 2003

Site 134 Pond 8 Merlin's Field Pond. April 2003

Site 134 Pond 8 Merlin's Field Pond with active Badget Sett. April 2003

Site 134 The Badger Sett on the bank of Pond 8 Merlin's Field Pond. April 2003

Site 134 Pond 8 Merlin's Field Pond had a tidy up by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. March 2004

Site 134 Pond 8 after being tidied up to let in the light to promote wildlife. March 2004

Site 134 Pond 8 after being tidied up to promote wildlife. March 2004

Site 134 Pond 8 After being tidied up to promote wildlife. March 2004

Site 134 Looking from The Ridings with Westfield Lane to the right. February 2010

Site 134 Looking from The Ridings with Westfield Lane to the right. February 2010

Site 134 Looking into Pond 15 Temple Pond (Horse Pool in 1729) from the junction of The Ridings with Westfield Lane. February 2010

The land was put up for sale in late 2003 with an asking price of £40,000 for Merlin's Field. The land was purchased together with the adjoining field with an asking price of £300,000. The whole piece to be farmed under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme which was such good news for wildlife. However, in 2015, the wildlife was discarded in favour of residential building.

SITE 134 MERLIN'S FIELD IN 2015

THIS LOVELY SITE IS THREATENED BY BUILDING IN 2015

Templar Way to the right of the boundary. February 2015

From Woodgate junction with Westfield Lane. The Ridings far left. Templar Way far right. February 2015

From the Westfield Lane boundary looking to Templar Way. February 2015

From the Westfield Lane boundary looking to The Ridings. Pond 8 to the right. February 2015

Pond 8 looking from the Westfield Lane boundary. February 2015

Looking from the Westfield Lane boundary to The Ridings. February 2015

Looking from the Westfield Lane boundary to Templar Way. February 2015

Looking from the Westfield Lane boundary with The Ridings on the left. February 2015

Pond Site 15. Corner of Westfield Lane and The Ridings. February 2015

Pond Site 15 looking to Westfield Lane. February 2015

Looking from The Ridings to Templar Way. February 2015

Looking from The Ridings to Templar Way with Westfield Lane to the right. February 2015

Ornamental Pond Gardens once part of the Rothley Temple landscaped gardens. February 2015

Top of the Ornamental Pond Gardens once part of The Temple landscaped gardens. February 2015

Water flow from the Ornamental Pond Gardens once part of the landscaped gardens of The Temple. February 2015

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