Cherry Orchard, Diglis
North end: Recreation ground
The recreation ground comprises a large area of short-mown, improved grassland, dominated by perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne). Around the boundaries are a variety of mature trees with a dense band of shrubs and young trees along the western boundary. Patches of ruderal vegetation
also occur around the fenced boundaries, including horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), nettle (Urtica dioica) and hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium).
At the southern end of the recreation ground is a model railway track on a raised bank. The grassland here is also short-mown and improved.
South end: Rough grassland and scrub
A large central area on the old landﬁll site supports rough grassland with only occasional shrubs and patches of bramble. Surrounding this, particularly towards the two watercourses, the site has largely been taken over by dense bramble thickets, scrub and nettle beds, generally species-poor; common and locally abundant species include ﬁeld bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), hedge
bindweed (Calystegia septum) and creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense). Also quite frequent are tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), hoary cress (Lepidium draba), cleavers (Galium aparine), ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (Trifolium repens) and redshank (Persicaria maculosa).
The open grassland supports a higher diversity of plant species, including three that are uncommon in Worcestershire – kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) and bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) are found in the more species-rich north end of the site; grass vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia) is quite common throughout. Other meadow-plants found frequently that are absent from the areas that have been taken over by scrub, bramble and nettles include black knapweed (Centaurea nigra) and ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). This community shows characteristics of the National Vegetation Classiﬁcation community MGI: Arrhenatherum elatius grassland, a community of ungrazed grassland on approximately neutral soils throughout the British lowlands.
Rabbits graze here, but not sufficiently to keep vigorous species in check. The dense growth of such species out-competes less strong, smaller plants and smothers anthills on the site. However, there are some patches of shorter turf, formed by trampling and localised heavier rabbit-grazing, particularly around path junctions. Unusual amongst these is the abundance of rat’s-tail fescue (Vulpia myuros), a grass which is only scattered and locally common in the county. The three largest of these are described below.
- Area A: Dominated by perennial rye-grass, white clover and bare ground. Broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is common, but there is also a variety of other herbs, including yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), wild carrot (Daucus carom), hop trefoil (Trifolium campestre) and lesser trefoil (Trifolium dubium). This is characteristic of the National Vegetation Classiﬁcation community MG7: Lolium perenne grassland.
- Area B: A rabbit-grazed area with a short sward at the junction of ﬁve main paths. The most abundant grass species are crested dog’s-tail (Cynosurus cristatus), Yorkshire fog (Holcus lanatus) and perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne), with patches of rat’s-tail fescue. White clover is abundant but there is a number of small herbs are also common – common cat’s-ear