TOWNEND COMMON (CZ/ES02)

Click here to see preliminary management plan for the site

Click here to see species lists for this site

 

General Information

Grid Reference

SK28709760

Ownership

Sheffield City Council. On long term lease to Deepcar Amenities Association Trust for 99 years from 1974

Size

5.2 hectares (997m perimeter)

Designation(s)

Green Belt and Area of Natural History Interest

Access

Freely accessible via Common Lane

Classification

A2

Importance

A very diverse site containing both wetland habitats and dry heath areas

Date Surveyed

12-03-00 (and subsequent visits in June/July 2000)

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Survey information

Introduction

A large site containing a variety of open habitats such as grassland, bracken areas, heathland and rush flushes. The southern part is where quarrying took place and this extends further west to Alman Well Hill (south of the golf course) with more acid grassland, bare rock outcrops, heather and wet bog areas.

History

It is difficult to date when mineral extraction first took place within the site (and adjacent area of Alman Well Hill) but the first edition OS Map of 1855 shows the southern part of the site containing a sandstone quarry. Kenworthy (1915) mentions the general area of the site as important for the production of firebricks for much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Gannister was also mined for local iron and steel industries and was of a very high quality. The Geological OS Map of 1932 shows a gannister bed to traverse the site in a northwest south east direction and two abandoned adits are indicated adjacent to this bed (also containing shale and coal). 

Topography

From Common Lane gently north facing but then becomes very uneven to rise up further south to the quarry area. Various fingers of flat plateaux extend out in the centre of the site, possibly indicating areas of spoil taken out from old adits, a few of which are still visible as deep furrows into the hillside and covered in bilberry and heather. Permanent springs ensure that the site is wet at virtually all times of the year. Few ponds are present but there are many wet boggy areas. Water runs into a stream and ditch running along the northern edge of the site with Common Lane.

Recreation and Use

Has experienced much motorcycle scrambling in the past but this occurs only very sporadically. Some off-road vehicle rallying takes place - possibly up to three times a year.

Present Management

None

Previous studies/surveys

A Sorby Natural History field trip took place on this site in June 1998 resulting in records for a range of invertebrates and a plant list of 74 species collected by Bill Smyllie (see Sorby Newsletter for December 1998). Since this excursion local naturalists have recorded several species of Sphagnum for the site.

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Main Plant Communities

Community

General Description

Characteristic Species

Community A

Tall herb

Dactylis glomerata, Arrhenatherium elatius, Agrostis capillaris, Chamerion angustifolium, Cirsium sp., Urtica dioica,

Community B

Bracken stands

Pteridium aquilinum, Deschampsia flexuosa, Rubus fruticosus agg.

Community C

Rough grassland

Dactylis glomerata, Agrostis capillaris

Community D

Heathland

Calluna vulgaris, Vaccinium myrtillus, Deschampsia flexuosa, Deschampsia caespitosa, Agrostis capillaris,

Community E

Acid grassland

Nardus stricta, Deschampsia flexuosa, Agrostis capillaris, Rumex acetosa, Rumex acetosella, Galium saxatile, Juncus squarrosus

Community F

Juncus flush

Juncus effusus, J. conglomeratus, Juncus bulbosus, Polytrichum commune, Sphagnum sp.(including cuspidatum), Eriophorum angustifolium.

Community G

Birch/willow and other scrub species

Betula sp., Salix sp., Pteridium aquilinum, Deschampsia flexuosa

Community H

Gorse scrub

Ulex sp.

Community I

Bramble bushes

Rubus fruticosus agg.

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Ecological Interest

A very diverse site in spite of large areas dominated by bracken, heather and some bilberry. The bracken appears to be the main competitor of bilberry on this site. Heather areas are mainly on the north facing slopes of the quarry area where some erosion has occurred due to off-road vehicle rallying and motor bike scrambling (see photos 10 and 11). The ruts of the tracks created by off-road vehicles provide wetland areas for frogs and palmate newts to live and breed.

Click to see vegetation map

Wetland flushes fed from springs that flow the whole year constitute the main interest within the site. These often contain carpets of Sphagnum and Polytrichum mosses. Several species of Sphagnum have already been recorded on the site including S. cuspidatum , S. squarrosum, S. compactum and S recurvum. The richness of wetland areas attracts many characteristic species and a visit on 16 June 2000 recorded a male Broad-bodied chaser (Libellula depressa) as well as many large red damsels mating. Some of the few visible ponds provide habitat for sedges such as Star sedge (recorded from small areas around two ponds) and Common sedge. Heath rush is very abundant along tracks where water flows on the surface and the north of the site contains a large area of rush (Juncus) dominated vegetation. Water from these wet flush areas flow into a ditch running along the northern boundary of the site with Common Lane. The ditch continues along a northwest route forming part of the northern boundary of neighbouring Stocksbridge golf course. To the southwest of site is a more extensive quarry area with extensive heathland and bog on the periphery adjacent with golf course. A visit in June revealed the presence of green tiger beetle, common lizard and crowberry. This large area merits further study.

Some scrub encroachment is developing on the extreme east of the site but this is currently not posing a significant threat to the open heath yet. Tall herb areas are dominated by several species of herb and grass. Acid grassland communities provide habitats for butterflies such as small heath. Invertebrate interest for the site is very high with some nationally uncommon and local species present such as the hoverfly Sericomyia lappona.

 

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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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