The National Trust is planning important woodland and landscape work on its Longshaw Estate over the next five to ten years, including changes at the popular former gritstone quarry at Lawrencefield.
The quarry is more formally known as Bole Hill, and today the land around it is covered by self-seeded birch trees that covered the workings when quarrying was abandoned early last century.
Below the quarry, towards Greenwood Farm and Padley Chapel, the woodland is better established with oak trees as well as birch, more characteristic of gritstone edges and a priority habitat.
The NT plan to enclose the woodland to exclude livestock to allow the woods to regenerate. This requires the restoration of almost a kilometre of dry-stone walls and a kilometre and a half of new fencing. Gates will allow access on rights of way and the many informal footpaths that are regularly used.
The fenced area will link into the Site of Special Scientific Interest known both as Padley Gorge and Yarncliffe Wood.
The work at Lawrencefield is just part of the overall plan. There will be felling of some of the more recent planted conifers at Sheffield Plantation on the other side of the Grindleford road. Some native species planting is also planned.
The NT’s Chris Millner says: “The end result will be like the best parts of the Longshaw Estate are today – wood pasture with open grown trees full of character, young trees growing to replace them, decaying wood on the ground – good for fungi and insects, wood ants and woodpeckers – and low levels of grazing by livestock.”
The wood pasture restoration and the enclosure is largely funded through the Higher Level Stewardship agreement, with additional support from the NT. There are further plans for coppicing and thinning to improve habitat for birds like redstarts and spotted flycatchers.
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