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29 October 2014

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You are in: South Yorkshire > Nature > Nature features > Rotherham's secret wildlife

Green figs

Figs ripening on the canal banks

Rotherham's secret wildlife

If you walk around town today, you may get a big surprise. Some unusal flora and fauna is lurking in urban locations. Watch our video to find out how you can photograph exotic fruits in industrial South Yorkshire.

Sweet, pink, sticky figs are enjoying a fashionable moment on the plates of British diners. Wrapped in Parma ham or served with dollops of mascarpone, they remind us of Italian holidays and other Mediterranean climes.

But unbeknown to shoppers at South Yorkshire delis, these fruits also grow in some of our cities' most industrial landscapes. The Common Fig, or Ficus Carica, is native to a region stretching from Greece to Afghanistan but can be found growing amidst the remains of factories on the River Don and River Rother, if you know where to look.

Thistle down

Thistle down captured on the canal banks

The seeds of imported fruits are thought to have germinated in water which was warmed up by factory outfalls, from the steel industry in particular.

"They're a kind of industrial archaeology," says wildlife photographer Simon Brown.

"I feel strongly that we should be recording them. We don't have much of a steel industry any more so we probably won't see any more of these trees."

Simon Brown lines up a photograph

Photographing reflections of a disused factory

And the figs of South Yorkshire are not alone on the banks of our waterways - as autumn draws in there are elderflowers and blackberries, Rowan berries and Evening Primrose, all growing higgledy-piggledy at the waterside.

Click on the link below to find out how you can get lush, scenic shots in the heart of our former industrial landscapes.

last updated: 10/04/2008 at 11:23
created: 07/09/2006

You are in: South Yorkshire > Nature > Nature features > Rotherham's secret wildlife

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