Barnsley Biodiversity Trust logo Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. DRAFT Last Updated August 2019 Floodplain grazing marsh at Wombwell Ings header

Conservation Floodplain Grazing Marsh sites are a priority in the Dearne Valley of Barnsley; some are being managed to promote wildlife and more can be done.

Factors causing loss or decline

Legal protection

Currently no Floodplain Grazing Marsh sites in Barnsley have legal protection as a SSSI.

Six sites are lLocal Wildlife Sites (LWS) with a presumption against development or change of use when planning consent is required.

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

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

Links: Floodplain meadows partnership

RSPB: Grazing grassland

RSPB: Rewetting grassland

RSPB: Grassland management for birds

NE: Assessing grassland priority habitat

NE: Grassland management handbook

NE: Horses & grassland management

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 5-15cm sward height in November

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

NB: Floodplain meadows denoted by:

1 frequent example from nine wildflowers typical of seasonally inundated grassland and 3 occasional wildflowers from the list of 43 wildflowers for lowland meadow grassland.
From Farm Environment Plan guidance.