Rivelin Valley Conservation Group
The RVCG undertook a lot of work on the Second Coppice mill dam in 2002. Then completely dry and overgrown, water was re-introduced by fitting a new sluice gate on the overflow to raise its level. A machine was used to dig a ditch along the edge of the dam to provide a channel for the water. Work still needs to be done to provide an outflow at the downstream end of the dam so that water can move through. Raising the water level killed many of the trees, but the dam is still quite shaded by Alder and Sycamore and a large Beech tree on the northern side. Plants growing in the water include Marsh Marigold and Water Mint. Dog’s Mercury and Celandine are abundant on the dam wall.
Birds recorded in this area include Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Great spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper.
By the stepping stones at the point where the Second Coppice tail goit meets the river, there is a steep cliff with water running down it – the water is sometimes rusty-coloured from the iron in the rocks. The cliff (known as ‘Cryptogam Cliff’) is made up of softer shales between beds of harder sandstone – water can pass through the porous sandstone but not the shale, so water is forced to run down the cliff-face. This makes ideal wet conditions for ferns (such as the Lady Fern and Hard Fern), mosses and liverworts, as well as Great Woodrush. The small flowering plant on the cliff with tiny yellow flowers from March to May is Golden Saxifrage.