Post No 4
The soils along the Dodder are mainly composed of base-rich glacial till derived from limestone bedrock. This influences the types of plants and habitats that occur along the river, such as the very special species-rich flowering meadow at Cherryfield which represents a grassland type that is protected under the European Union Habitats Directive.
This old calcium-rich, dry pasture is specifically managed by the Parks Department of South Dublin County Council in a way which encourages a rich diversity of wild native flowers such as Cowslips Primula veris, Lady’s Bedstraw Galium verum, Fairy Flax Linum catharticum, Bird’s Foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Knapweed Centaurea nigra, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Pignut Conopodium majus, Autumn Hawkbit Leontodon autumnalis, Rest Harrow Ononis repens and Eyebright Euphrasia arctium.
Grasses include Crested Dog’s-tail Cynosaurus cristatus, Common Bent Agrostis capillaris, Sweet Vernal Grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, and the lime-loving Quaking Grass Briza media.
As the meadow has not been reseeded or fertilised for many years, the right conditions occur for wild orchids to occur such as Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis and the Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii.
A third orchid species, Common Twayblade Neottia ovata can also be found, in shadier, damper clumps of grass at the edges. On the wetter end of the meadow, moisture-loving plants occur such as rushes and sedges and flowering plants such as Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria and Lady’s Smock Cardamine pratensis.
A less-intensive regime of grass cutting in Cherryfield Meadow facilitates wonderful displays of flowers and grasses from May until August every year. This diversity also provides great opportunities for a range of insects to feed and lay eggs including butterflies such as Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, the day-flying moth Six-spot Burnet, and 4 species of bumblebee.
The presence of such a range of plants and insects in an urban park makes Cherryfield Meadow in the Dodder Linear Park a unique location.
Knocklyon Network would like to acknowledge the assistance and support in this project of the following: A Grant from the Dept. of The Environment through LA21, South Dublin County Council and their Library section, Knocklyon History Society, Ciar Mc Gouran.