Everywhere in England is south of Northumberland and South Yorkshire does seem to be a substantial drive in that direction. The day was a trip to a couple of country parks in the Barnsley area to share ideas and best practice in managing these sort of areas. Both parks owe their existence to former pit heaps and signs of industry do still remain. Most striking is the surviving coke works at Monckton near the Rabbit Ings site; this has been in operation for well over 100 years and produces coke for use in glass and steel manufacturing amongst other things.
The coke works has seen coal mining come and go and the pit heap landscaped to the current country park. This park contains sweeping areas of grassland, woodland areas and a few ponds. One of these ponds has a partial cover of lesser reedmace (Typha angustifolia), a plant often called bulrush but complicated by the fact that another plant is also given this name. Lesser reedmace is smaller than its more invasive larger relative, has narrower leaves and, most obviously, the flower spikes are clearly divided into two distinct parts, male above the female.
The other site visited was Phoenix Park, another park created from an old pit heap with a network of wide paths through planted broadleaved woodland. Butterflies such as small skipper, ringlet and meadow brown were common over the grassland swathes with small tortoiseshell flying faster and purposefully across the site.