Woodland Nature Trail
Barnes Dell was named after Sir George Barnes, the third Principal (1956 to 1960) of the University College of North Staffordshire, the forerunner of the present University. This is a tranquil spot with a small stream running through the Dell, flanked by Alders Alnus glutinosa but there are a number of unusual species here too.
The Alder is a typical tree of streams, rivers, pools and fens, in fact anywhere it is wet. The small catkins (resembling pine cones) are attractive to small finches such as Siskin, Redpoll and Goldfinch in the winter months.
In the summer the stream is lined by the graceful Pendulous Sedge Carex pendula. Further down the Dell you will find the huge arum-like Skunk Cabbage Lysichitum americanum seen in the image above.
It is not possible to pinpoint the individual trees here but the following have been found :
Handkerchief Tree : Davidia involucrata
Field Maple : Acer campestre; our native species.
Deciduous Camellia : Stuartia pseudocamellia
Rauli Beech : Nothofagus procera
Katsura Tree : Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Redbud Hazel : Disanthus cercidifolius
The Handkerchief Tree is at its best in April/May but Katsura Trees, leaves illustrated above, are best visited in the autumn when their leaves begin to fall, for it is then that the air has the scent of toffee as the leaves begin to decay!