SJ8064 : New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii)

taken 9 years ago, near to Brereton Heath, Cheshire, Great Britain

New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii)
New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii)
This lush green carpet is New Zealand Pygmyweed, or Australian Swamp Stoneweed. This plant is a very serious problem in ponds, lakes and waterways- it is now listed as a Criterion 2 of the Species Action Framework, meaning it is an invasive alien that poses a serious threat to biodiversity. It has also been added to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), making it an offense to release it into the wild. New Zealand Pygmyweed can grow 20-30 centimetres per day and will regrow from a very tiny piece. This makes it very difficult to control or even eradicate from a problem area, to spray an area such as the one in the picture with a proprietry weedkiller (ie. Roundup) runs the risk of killing the other plants too- in this pond there are Sedges, Water Plantains and several other species to worry about.
Brereton Heath Country Park :: SJ7965
Once part of the Brereton Hall Estate, this area was planted with Scots Pine trees in the 19th century- which were then felled during the First World War to provide pit-props for the mining industry. Some of these remain and there have been some new ones planted as a reminder of the past. After this the area began to be taken over by Silver Birch and a gamekeeper was employed by the estate to rear game birds for sport.
In 1959 silica sand was discovered and a quarry was opened, at one point extracting up to 500 tonnes per day for use in the production of glass and making casting moulds for the metal industry. The quarry was abandoned in 1972 after the sand ran out, filling with water and making the present lake, and the site was then purchased in 1982 by Congleton Borough Council for the creation of a country park.
2004 saw the country park being designated as a Local Nature Reserve, and is now managed for the benefit of both wildlife and members of the public.
In 2009 Congleton Borough Council merged with Cheshire East County Council who now, along with a group of volunteers, manage the site. Also in 2009 Brereton Heath was awarded a Green Flag Award, which was earned again in 2010.
There is a varied landscape on the site, with a lake, woodland, meadowland and rare lowland heath. This variety in the landscape also produces a wonderfully varied flora and fauna. There is also a very good visitor centre with toilets, and excellent disabled access including the ‘Brimstone Trail’ going through the woods and circling the lake. This trail is completely ‘wheelchair and buggy friendly’.
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SJ8064, 18 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 9 July, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 10 July, 2010
Water weed   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 800 649 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:10.8816N 2:18.0162W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 800 649
View Direction
SOUTH (about 180 degrees)
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