Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Post-15 BAP. Updated to 2023




Wombwell Ings

Conservation Floodplain Grazing Marsh sites are a priority in the Dearne Valley of Barnsley; most are now being managed for wildlife.

Factors causing loss or decline

Legal protection

The designation of the Dearne Valley Wetlands in May 2021 as a SSSI gives legal protection to the included sites.

One site has Local Nature Reserve status and most sites are managed as nature reserves without this designation.

Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) have a presumption against development or change of use when planning consent is required. The Local Plan also identifies relevant sites as green space.

Specific wildlife species are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. This includes intentionally or recklessly disturbing birds at, on or near an ‘active’ nest. 

Many of the sites fall in statutory washlands for which the Environment Agency has regulatory responsibility.

Positive conservation management


Floodplain meadows partnership

RSPB: Grazing grassland

RSPB: Rewetting grassland

RSPB: Grassland management

NE: Grassland management handbook

Floodplain grazing marsh standards:

Main grassland is often not very species rich

< 5% cover by undesirable species eg dock, nettle, thistle, ragwort

0% infield scrub or tree cover

For breeding waders …

< 40% cover of rushes

Between 5%-60% grass or sedge tussocks

Ground wet between March and May

For over-wintering waders and wildfowl

< 40% cover of rushes

Between 5-15 cm sward height in November

Standing water on >5% and wet ground >50% field between November and February

Grazing cattle at work RSPB working on floodplain ditch

Grazing marsh conservation