HEN HOLMES WOOD (INDZ/ES02)

Click here to see preliminary management plan for the site

Click here to see species lists for this site

General Information

 

Grid Reference

SK27949846

Ownership

On leasehold by Corus Engineering Steels from unknown owner

Size

1.3 hectares (494m perimeter)

Designation(s)

General Industry Area with Special Industries

Access

Full access. The site contains four rights of way  - No. 13 (runs close to and parallel with the Little Don River). No. 11 runs north-south along the eastern boundary of the site. Another diverts from this to run northwest - no. 11a - where it turns north to joins another right of way - no. 10.

No. 10, together with a confusing number of informal paths and desire lines occurring in the scrub area, functions as a connection between rights of way 12A and 11 (which on the definitive map should run on eastern side of the site along a fenced field boundary but was never laid out as it should have when diverted as a result of the building of the Stocksbridge bypass). An informal path diverges from 11A to follow a route that joins with another informal path on the western side of site. This connects with footpath no 13 at the south west corner of the site.

Classification

B3

Importance

Secondary woodland that has developed a dense shrub layer and extensive area of ivy-dominant cover provide good breeding habitat for birds. Scrub and small areas of acid grassland along the northern boundary of site. Species-rich ground flora present in stretch of secondary riverine woodland.

Date Surveyed

14-03-00 (and subsequent visits on 15-05-00 and 30-04-01)

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Survey information

Introduction

A former industrial site that has re-vegetated, probably over the last fifty or more years after the brick and tile works were dismantled.

History

A brick work factory was established on the site by Turner Brothers in the first half of the nineteenth century that was later taken over by John Armitage. The factory produced tiles, bricks and other clay products such as 'stoneware closet basins' Minerals were exploited for the works were on this north side of the Little Don valley and included coal and gannister. The 1932 Geological OS Map refers to the Hen Holmes works as 'Disused'.

Topography

The site is on a generally south facing slope, but the ground along the Little Don River is more or less level. The remains of the works are now obscured by vegetation. However, the ground in parts is very uneven and some features, such as walls and pits can be traced. The site also contains the ruins of Wharncliffe Villa - which was the home of John Armitage and his family.

Recreation and Use

The path along the river is used by people walking dogs. A return visit also showed signs of cycling on this path.

Present Management

Virtually none. Vegetation clearance of footpaths.

 

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Main Plant Communities

Community

General Description

Characteristic Species

Community A

Tall herb/bramble

Rubus fruticosus agg., Galium aparine, Chamerion angustifolium, Heracleum sphondylium

Community B

Willow-dominant woodland and scrub

Salix caprea., Hedera helix, Rubus fruticosus agg., Eurynchium praelongum, Sambucus nigra, Fraxinus excelsior, Geranium robertianum, Lonicera periclymenium, Pteridium aqulinum

Community C

Acid grassland

Deschampsia flexuosa, Agrostis capillaris, Rumex acetosella, Rumex acetosa, Hypochaeris radicata

Community D

Secondary riverine woodland

Acer pseudoplatanus, Salix sp., Crataegus monogyna, Sambucus nigra, Hyacinthoides non-scriptus, Luzula sylvatica,Cardamine flexuosa, Brachythecium rutabulum, Stachys sylvatica, Ranunculus ficaria

Community E

Rough grassland

Dactylis glomerata, Plantago lanceolata, Vicia sepium

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Ecological Interest

The vegetation of this site has now practically hidden any signs of the former brickworks and in some areas is quite dense and forbidding. The woodland (community B) is dominated by goat willow but there are some areas where this gives way to artificial planting such as the line of horse chestnut trees in the northern part of the site. These may have lined an access route to the now demolished Wharncliffe Villa that was built by John Armitage who owned the brick works for many years during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Other areas where willow is not so dominant is much of the scrub area on the northern boundary of the site. Here hawthorn and oak tend to be more common, interspersing with small areas of tall herb, acid and rough grassland.

Much of the woodland is has a dense ground cover of ivy with the result that the ground flora diversity is very poor and (the ivy extends to cover many shrubs and trees) but providing good cover for other species. Tall herb mostly consists of cow parsley, willowherb, hogweed and bramble with some bracken abundant in some small areas. There are two harts tongue fern locations in the main woodland compartment, both grow from a vegetated rubble strewn ground.

Perhaps the area with most interest is the riverine strip of woodland that contains a diverse ground flora more akin to ancient semi-natural woodland with bluebell, lesser celandine, greater wood-rush, opposite-leaved golden saxifrage and wood speedwell all present. These have obviously seeded from material transported by the river from woodland sites further upstream - probably the main source being Sheephouse Wood. Along parts of the bank of the river there is evidence of a once walled front (particularly the western end) but much of it is now more naturalised due to the effects of disturbance, river flooding and/or scouring and deposition of silt. Much of the bank is colonised by a bright-green cover of the liverwort Lunularia cruciata. Japanese knotweed is present on the eastern end of this woodland strip. As the year progresses much of the compartment develops into tall herb with cow parsley, hogweed and willowherb prominent.

Apart from Japanese knotweed along the riverbank area (close to main south entrance of site) other non-native species include lilac and London pride and there is a small area of rhododendron (near to the line of horse chestnuts). 

Acid grassland is not particularly of good quality and does not contain the full complement of species associated with the habitat. However to the north and north west of the site are grassland areas with considerable interest. On the 5 June the surveyor visited one of these areas (north west) to find a range of plants such as common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa), hairy tare (Vicia hirsuta), birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Changing Forget-me-not (Myosotis discolor) and cut-leaved cranesbill (Geranium dissectum) as well as abundant ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum). These areas could provide good habitat links with Hen Holmes and other sites on this side of the valley in general.

Fungi were also present with, as expected, many examples of the blushing bracket (Daedaliopsis confragosa) having a preference for growing on willow. Invertebrate and other fauna interest is probably relatively rich, particularly in the scrub areas.

Botanical Survey - to view lists of species 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 update3/02/11

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