EAST WHITWELL OPEN SPACE (OZ/ES03)

Click here to see preliminary management plan for the site

Click here to see species lists for this site

 

General Information

Grid Reference

SK26879750

Ownership

SCC (Leisure Services)

Size

1.57 hectares (568m perimeter)

Designation(s)

Open Space Area

Access

Yes - via public right of way No 22A . There was formerly a through route via this right of way eastwards across the site to join Ralph Ellis Drive. Some years ago an adjacent property owner bought the land from the city council to add to his garden and sealed off the exit as the route was attracting youths to hang around.

Classification

C2

Importance

Sizeable area of acid grassland with bilberry stands and a copse of broad-leaved trees including beech with a very degraded ground flora consisting of a few bluebells

Date Surveyed

28-02-00

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Survey information

Introduction

The site is roughly squarish and located immediately south of Spink Hall and Stocksbridge Junior School.

History

Early ordnance survey maps show this area to have been a quarry (probably for sandstone) and under the ground there may have been seams of coal or clay that were worked.

Topography

The topography has been influenced by past land use. In the southeastern part of site there are a few vegetation-covered deep hollows that may indicate past mining adits or remains of quarrying faces and/or are due to subsidence. The rest of the site is gently undulating, with a slight slope to the north, but more or less level.

Recreation and Use

During the survey dog walkers and a couple of young kids were present on the site. Evidence of a possibly fledgling bmx track in the form of some small ramps of piled up soil along informal path. Garden rubbish is frequently dumped on site from adjacent properties on the south and west sides and there was evidence of a small fire in the southern part. A large number of informal paths occur in the western part of the site with its boundary along the Stocksbridge Junior School playing field.

Present Management

None.

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Main Plant Communities

Community

General Description

Characteristic Species

Community A

Bramble dominant tall herb

Rubus fruticosus agg.

Community B

Rough grassland

Dactylis glomerata

Community C

Scrub

Crataegus monogyna, Sambucus nigra

Community D

Acid grassland

Agrostis capillaris, Deschampsia flexuosa

Community E

Copse/mature trees

Fagus sylvatica, Acer pseudoplatanus, Fraxinus excelsior,

Community F

Tall herb

Chamerion angustifolium, Urtica dioica, Rubus idaeus, Anthriscus sylvestris, Cirsium sp.

Community G

Bilberry heath

Vaccinium myrtillum, Galium saxatile, Rumex acetosella

Ecological Value

The site contains a variety of habitats and is important mainly for its open grassland areas. These consist mainly of large areas of rough grass with tall vigorous species such as cocksfoot being abundant. The area of acid grass is situated in the southeastern part. Within this habitat are areas of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillum). Most bilberry areas are small and scattered but some one or two contain a high cover of reasonably mature plants. New areas adjacent to these are undergoing colonisation through the rhizomatous system of established plants.

Moss cover is extensive both in rough and acidic grass areas. In some acidic grassland and areas in and around bilberry stands are frequently found the attractive moss Dicranum scoparium. Polytrichum moss (P. juniperum) is also found particularly in areas where grass cover is poor and usually in the vicinity of bilberry.

As expected for a site surrounded on nearly all sides by the back gardens of adjacent properties a number of introduced species and cultivars occur. These include garden escapes such as silver-leaved yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon argentatum), Crocosmia, Narcissus (daffodil), Spiraea sp., Rhododendron sp. a cypress tree (Cupressus sp.) and flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) - all were recorded close to or near the boundaries of the site. Honeysuckle was noted along one boundary and likely to be of garden origin.

Of interest is the copse that extends as a finger of woodland from the northern boundary of the site. This area has a small number of bluebells and shows that in spite of artificial planting (of beeches and possibly conifers at one time) this small area was possibly always wooded.

Tall herb and rough grassland carry the usual array of vigorous and coarse species that limit biodiversity. However, the site is likely to be rich in invertebrates and worth further study on this basis. Biodiversity could be enhanced if some water could be retained on site. There is a the remains of a damaged culvert containing standing water close to the surface on the east side of the site, but whether water could be drawn from here to form small pools is uncertain. Any work to do this would depend on the quality of the water.

The grassland areas and shrubs provide good hunting grounds for avian predators and during the survey Sparrowhawk was recorded.

Botanical Survey - to see List of species found on this site click here

 

Stocksbridge SRB5 Greenspace Audit undertaken by Jim Flanagan for Sheffield Wildlife Trust - see their Community Action Handbook - full of good ideas for your local site


Back to map of ecological survey sites

Inner Zone

Knoll Top

Outer Zone

Oxley Park

Bracken Moor - playing fields

East Whitwell - open space

Wood Royd

Countryside Zone

Ellen Cliff Wood

Townend Common

Industrial Zone

Dog Lichen Field

Hen Holmes Wood

Little Don - acid heath

Little Don - open space

Exchange Sidings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I
Back to map of ecological survey sites

nner Zone

Knoll Top

Outer Zone

Oxley Park

Bracken Moor - playing fields

East Whitwell - open space

Wood Royd

Countryside Zone

Ellen Cliff Wood

Townend Common

Industrial Zone

Dog Lichen Field

Hen Holmes Wood

Little Don - acid heath

Little Don - open space

Exchange Sidings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I
Back to map of ecological survey sites

nner Zone

Knoll Top

Outer Zone

Oxley Park

Bracken Moor - playing fields

East Whitwell - open space

Wood Royd

Countryside Zone

Ellen Cliff Wood

Townend Common

Industrial Zone

Dog Lichen Field

Hen Holmes Wood

Little Don - acid heath

Little Don - open space

Exchange Sidings

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Text and Photographs (unless stated otherwise)

©The Steel Valley Project
ARC, Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, S36 2DT
Telephone 0114 - 2830880
Fax - 0114 - 2831117

Companies House Registration Number 4394953

Charities Registration Number 1095510

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latest update 3/03/11

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