Dragon Fields

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Your Guide to Dragon Fields
Open Space

What is Dragon Fields?
Dragon Fields is a green open space with a children’s play area in a natural setting; it is adjacent to the attractive nineteenth century Dragon Cottage on Guy’s Cliffe Avenue. It has a tree lined brook, small copse and playing field.

Who are the “Friends of Dragon Fields”?
The” Friends” are a small group of local residents who have decided to look after the site and take an interest in its history and wildlife. They litter pick, record the wildlife, monitor any problems, and liaise with the District and County Councils to solve them and to make improvements.

What’s the history?
The area between Beverley Road, Dragon Cottage and the Fairways was part of the Leamington Golf Course, founded in 1890, it existed until 1956. The clubhouse was a mansion where Brookhurst Court now stands. It is believed that Dragon Cottage was built in 1881 and it then became the green keeper’s cottage. Dragon Cottage has been restored and extended in keeping with its original features.
Where does the railway go?
Passenger and freight services use the single line to Coventry which runs along the edge of the space. The railway line was the original route from Coventry to Leamington, opened in 1844. It was joined to the Oxford to Birmingham line when this route was opened in 1852. Trains on this line now run to Birmingham, Manchester and the North.
The brook
Dragon Fields is traversed by a small brook which retains natural vegetation, including native trees, brambles, nettles, cow parsley and grasses along its banks. It rises at the top of Windermere Drive and flows under Trinity School playing fields. The brook emerges near Dragon Fields then flows as an open stream under the railway, and through Avonside allotments to join the River Avon. The brook collects pollutants from nearby gardens and can appear very murky. However when there is sufficient rainfall the water in the brook is clear and provides an attraction to birds, animals and adventurous children!

What is there for children?
Dragon Fields is a haven for children of all ages. It offers a unique combination of play equipment, playing fields and natural areas.

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Its location makes for a great afterschool area for children from Brookhurst School, for pre- school children during the day and a place to get some fresh air at the weekend.
This open space offers children the freedom to choose their own play partners and locations. The playing fields and goal post are great for ball games and the path is long enough for a bike or scooter ride.
As a parent or carer it is great to watch how children can organise themselves into football teams or exploring the play equipment independently while you watch from the bench.
Dragon Fields provides an abundance of play opportunities, sticks and conkers to find, dandelions to blow, trains to spot, trees to climb, and a stream to cross. Not forgetting blackberries to eat!

What animals and birds are there?
The natural features of Dragon Fields provide a variety of habitats for plants and animals.
Foxes and squirrels are often seen and bats hunt for insects. A variety of birds frequent the site. In 2012 blue tits raised a family in one of the new nest boxes. Summer migrants blackcap and chiffchaff can be heard singing in early Summer. You may also spot a goldfinch with its red and gold plumage or a woodpecker. There has even been a moorhen at the brook!
In sunny weather several butterfly species can be seen, and the wild flowers are also frequented by bumblebees, honey bees, and hoverflies.
What trees, plants and grasses are there?
To date just under 100 different species of plants & trees have been identified in Dragon Fields. There are 20 different trees & shrubs.
There is no English Oak but there is a Turkey Oak. The Horse Chestnut trees are easily recognised and the Cherry Plum flowers provide pretty white blossom in springtime. Naturally occurring Midland Hawthorn has white flowers
Daisies can be seen much of the year, while flowers such as Balkan Anemone, Lords & Ladies, Cuckooflower & Snowdrop have to be hunted for. Perhaps the most spectacular is the Glandular Globe-thistle. There are three species of Speedwells and two different violets which appear each year and feverfew which has been spotted for the first time in 2012.
Grasses such as False Oat-grass, Cocksfoot & Annual Meadow-grass can be found if you look hard enough!

WHAT OF THE FUTURE?
The “Friends” hope to:-
1. Involve more local residents
2. Provide more detailed information about wildlife and seasonal changes, possibly via a website
3. Liaise with the Council to maintain and upgrade the area and play equipment when necessary
4. Liaise with Schools to encourage children to take an interest in caring for the site.
5. Hold community events
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
If you’d like to:
• Send us your ideas
• Join in a meeting
• Help with an event
Or just to keep updated with what’s going on please send an email to Julie Bradley at
julie.bradley.violin@gmail.com
The more supporters we can get, the more we can do to improve and look after this unique open space.
Thank you from the friends of Dragon Fields.

What have the Friends of dragon Fields achieved so far?
• Bi- monthly meetings since November 2011 to plan actions, and regular reports emailed to interested residents.
• Replacement of a grill on the brook to prevent children and dogs entering the tunnel under the railway.
• Reduction of litter through regular litter picks.
• An ongoing detailed record of plants and animals, (available on request)
• Requesting the Council to renew and upgrade surfaces under the play equipment, provide more seating for parents, and an improved litter bin. Following a site visit from the Council’s Green Space Team Leader these have been promised and are scheduled to be in place by Autumn 2012, together with a possible provision of more bird and bat boxes.
• Successfully applying for a small grant from North Leamington Community Forum to produce this promotional leaflet.

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