Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Last Updated February  2018

Distribution of woodland in Barnsley
Ancient woodland dark green

Other woodland light green

Map produced by South Yorkshire Forest Partnership
for Barnsley Woodland Strategy.

Ancient woodland has had time to build up a varied and distinctive flora. Just over half of woodland in Barnsley is ancient woodland. These woods, often with old names such as Hugset, Bagger and Silkstone Fall, are irreplaceable.

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Whilst national planning policies state that the five woodland priority habitats should be preserved, restored and recreated where possible, planning policies recognise ancient woodland and aged or veteran trees as irreplaceable. (NPPF Para 118)

Ancient woodlands are known to have existed from at least the beginning of the 17th century before which woodland planting did not take place. They have had time to build up a varied and distinctive flora and fauna.

Ancient woodland may include any of the priority woodland types in Barnsley. Just over half of woodland in Barnsley is ancient semi-natural woodland (18%) and ancient woodland sites with replanting (36%).

Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) is mainly made up of trees and shrubs native to the area, often arising from natural regeneration. Its presence is a material consideration in planning applications.

Planted on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) with conifer and broadleaved trees that retain ancient woodland features such as undisturbed soil, ground flora and fungi, is a material consideration in planning applications as well. They can often be restored to ancient semi-natural woodland.

Aged or veteran trees because of their great age, size or condition are of exceptional value for wildlife, in the landscape, or for their heritage.

NPPF paragraph 118

Planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland and the loss of aged or veteran trees found outside ancient woodland, unless the need for, and benefits of, the development in that location clearly outweigh the loss.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Other links

Woodland Trust:

Planning for Ancient Woodland;

How to identify anceint woodland

Natural England: Standing Advice on Ancient Woodland


Ancient woodland indicators.

A list of plants characteristic of ancient woodlands in South Yorkshire has been produced by Professor Melvyn Jones. It is used to help identify local wildlife sites in Barnsley.

Old maps and records can also determine whether a site contains ancient woodland. Natural England also maintains an inventory of ancient woodland accessible through the MAGIC mapping website.

Ancient woodland also often contains historic features such as boundary ditches and mounds, bell pits and remnants of charcoal hearths.

Woodland flowers in Nabs Wood. Image Gordon Bristowe