The Steel Valley Project - the potential to enhance the level of biodiversity and so the value of the greenspaces in Stocksbridge
Identifying the potential
The substantial acreage of unbuilt land within Stocksbridge District - the green spaces, the garden areas and woodlands as well as the surrounding agricultural land - means that there is an immense potential within Stocksbridge District to enhance local levels of biodiversity.
Here in Stocksbridge over a relatively short period, it will be possible to reverse the loss of habitats which has occurred. The loss has been particularly great in this area over the past century.
Through the way in which areas of greenspace are planted and managed, it is possible to create a wider range and a greater area of habitats. Selecting locally appropriate trees, shrubs and herbs - many of them flowering - will help to attract different ranges of wildlife to the different parts of the district.
Such habitats should be good for wildlife - mammals, birds and insects - but also for people. Research has shown that the presence of wildlife makes it much more interesting to be in a greenspace or look out into a garden and also can help reduce the stresses experienced by urban dwellers.
See also the information elsewhere on the internet about Biodiversity in Yorkshire and Humberside
Making and maintaining green spaces which can act as a support for the development of a rich and varied biodiversity
This change can only take place if the whole community is involved in making the district a very special urban area known for its biodiversity.
To make it happen it will require the work of individuals in their own gardens (where they can add areas of plants which attract wildlife - How to make wildlife gardens ), and the work of groups of volunteers who can spend the time necessary to plant, grow and look after areas of plants in their local green spaces (where areas of new planting can develop into richer habitats capable of supporting an ever increasing range of wildlife). See also How to Make a Wildlife Garden by Chris Baines published by Frances Lincoln Ltd for further information.
In Stocksbridge there are some green spaces which already support interesting habitats, notably some of the woodlands, as well as the twelve green spaces which have been studied in detail recently.
To view the data from The Stocksbridge Ecological survey - click the button to the right
Why the area has lost habitats over the past 100 years
As with other urban areas the manner in which the development happened within the built-up area meant the clearance or at least damage to almost all the old natural features.
Modern methods of farming and the associated reduction in the labour force have meant that many habitats have been lost over the past century within the agricultural land - small copses, hedges, boggy patches, areas rich in wildflowers along field margins and water courses.
Survey data on vegetation, wildlife and ecology.
The Stocksbridge Ecological survey is a detailed vegetation survey undertaken by a Stocksbridge-based ecologist, Jim Flanagan, in 2000. His work was funded from a variety of sources, in particular Sheffield Wildlife Trust. The findings are available on this website.
There is a lack of data on wildlife.
At the next stage of this project we would like to gather data on where birds, butterflies and other insects, as well as wild animals - foxes, squirrels, mice, etc. - can be found.
As well as general interest surveys undertaken by members of the local community, we are also keen to find out if there are any members of the local community skilled in the recognition of birds and other wildlife who would be willing to help on a voluntary basis - so that we can make a more systematic survey as the basis for long-term monitoring of the impact of any changes we make to existing habitats.
©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