LITTLE DON ACID HEATH (INDZES03)

Click here to see preliminary management plan for the site

Click here to see species lists for this site

 

General Information

Grid Reference

SK28439818

Ownership

Corus Engineering Steels

Size

0.8 hectares (388m perimeter)

Designation(s)

Green Belt

Access

Full public access. The site contains part of the route (made up of permissive paths) of the Little Don Walk with a stretch following the river and both the west and east sides of the site. A number of desire lines and less formal paths cross the heathland and birch scrub part of the site, consisting of compacted cinder ash.

Classification

B3

Importance

Acid-type heath with spring and pool surrounded by wet rush vegetation.

Date Surveyed

10-03-00

 

Survey information

Introduction

An ex-industrial site that formerly contained tramway sidings and a depot, re-landscaped and planted up with introduced species.

History

The first edition OS Map of 1854 shows this field as probably an agricultural one. The next edition of 1905 shows the site with a brick yard and tramway. The tramway enabled minerals and finished products to be transported on both sides of the river between Hen Holmes Works and the Gannister and Brick Works at Wood Royd. The 1932 OS geology map still shows the brickyard with tramway and shed. Tramway and shed went out of use probably soon after the Hen Holmes works shut down during in the 1930s but both the 1974 OS map and 1986 (1:2,500) maps still show the existence of sidings on the site.

Topography

The site is situated on the north side of a bend in the Little Don River and just south of the Stocksbridge steel works railway line. Most of the site is on a level plateau with slopes down along the south, east and west (overlooking allotment gardens). There is little evidence of the former use the site was put to but much of the ground is cinder ash. Woodland covers most of the southern half of the site with heather and scrub and tall herb in the northern part.

Recreation and Use

Used by dog walkers and sometimes by cyclists. The remains of a tree house is located in willow woodland in the north east part of site. In the same area as one follows the path out of the site along the rail line a bench has been installed on the edge of the willow woodland.

Present Management

None, apart from path clearance. Previous management focussed on rhododendron control and there are still some areas in the south part of site where rhododendron is still present. Some attempt has been made to cut down the invasive grey alder on the heath area with cuttings left on site.

1.

2.

 

3.

 

4

5.

7.

6.

8.

9.

10.

111.

 

12.

 

 

Main Plant Communities

Community

General Description

Characteristic Species

Community A

Tall herb

Centaurea nigra Chamerion angustifolium, Hypericum sp.

Community B

Bare ground and low herbs

Cladonia sp., Peltigera lactucifolia

Community C

Willow woodland/scrub

Salix sp., Rhododendron ponticum, Crataegus monogyna, Rubus fruticosus agg., Ranunculus repens, Galium aparine

Community D

Alder woodland

Alnus incana, Rubus fruticosus agg., Eurynchium praelongum

Community E

Heathland

Calluna vulgaris, Hypnum cupressiforme

Community F

Birch scrub

Betula sp., Teucrium scorodonia

Community G

Wet rush (Juncus) area

Juncus effusus, Calluna vulgaris, Ranunculus repens, Betula sp.

Ecological Interest

The site, although not particularly large is of some importance as it is freely accessible and part of the route of the Little Don Walk. Most of the site is composed of woodland but the central part is dominated by grey alder. This alder is an introduced species from the continent that is widely planted for its ability to stabilise slag heaps and loose, infertile ground, suckers readily and binds soils. Unfortunately, it is also fast growing and is invading the heathland area of the site. Bramble is very vigorous within this part of the wood and management to control these two would maintain the open habitat of the heath.

The site also contains extensive willow woodland on three sides with some areas containing many saplings but also a limited ground flora. Birch scrub is located on the northern side of the site where the soils appear to be more free-draining (except for the pond and wet Juncus area). The birch scrub contains some ground flora interest such as wood sage (Teucrium scorodonoia) but much of the ground is bare and compacted cinder ash or has a cover of mosses and lichens (such as the Cladonia cup-type lichens).

Tall herb, particularly alongside the boundary with the railway line, is an unusual, but not surprising, combination of species characteristic of urban situations or post-industrial sites such as mugwort, common St John's-wort, tansy and black knapweed.   

Some of the heather is becoming old, perhaps over 15 to 20 years, and could benefit from cutting. Under the heather some sparse lichen communities are present but a large patch of the luxuriant dog lichen Peltigera lactucifolia was found (also present elsewhere on the site in small amounts). Extensive moss cover was also present with the main species being Hypnum cupressiforme

Botanical Survey - clic here for details

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

 

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text and Photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Steel Valley Partnership Stocksbridge, all rights reserved. Terms of use: Any involved in education or training may copy the contents of these web pages, with the proviso that they always make reference to the original copyright.

 

Web pages by Map21 Ltd - latest update 24 Apl 2005

Related sites