Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Last Updated October 2018 Floodplain grazing marsh at Wombwell Ings header

Floodplain Grazing Marsh: Features

Floodplain Grazing Marsh’s wet and damp grassland, ditches and subsistence flashes, scrapes, pools and water-filled areas, and muddy and marshy areas, all promote biodiversity.


Extensive but shallow flooding in the winter, added to existing standing water, creates ideal conditions for overwintering wildfowl and waders. Varied depths of water together with remaining areas of grassland provide opportunities for diving, dabbling, wading and indeed grazing species like Wigeon.


Wet grassland provides excellent habitat for breeding waders such as Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing. The large number of invertebrates present in soft damp soils, ditches and ponds, provide important food for adult birds and their chicks.


A succession of wet muddy margins and marshy grassland drawn down as shallow flooded areas recede in the Spring and Summer are important for breeding wildfowl, waders and their chicks to feed in.


Tussocky, damp grassland swards provide good habitat for foraging and breeding waders. Lapwings prefer short grazed swards and Snipe like a more varied sward height as do Redshank.

Grazing marsh species

Birds

Grazing marshes are of major significance for breeding, passage and wintering birds.


They are important for the number of breeding waders such as Common Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing.


There are important populations of wintering Wigeon as well as Teal, Lapwing and Golden Plover.


Kestrel and Barn Owl hunt for prey over Grazing Marsh.


Mammals

Water Vole may frequent the ditches in Grazing Marsh. Other  voles, mice, and shrews are found.


Brown Hare may be found.

 

Several bat species also use Grazing Marsh areas for foraging.


Reptiles / Amphibians

Grass Snake, Great Crested Newt, other newts.


Fish

Eel.


Invertebrates

A range of invertebrates including a number of rare snails as well as dragon and damselflies.


Plants

Although the grassland within Grazing Marsh generally has low botanical interest, Great Burnet, Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Pepper Saxifrage and Marsh Marigold may be found and more specialised plants in the ditches.

The water bodies dissecting and bordering the grazing grassland can be important themselves for a number of plants and invertebrates including a number of rare snails as well as dragon and damselflies. They are valuable for amphibians and Grass Snakes that feed on them. Water Voles are also known to frequent these areas.


Marginal vegetation around ditches and other water bodies can be rich in plants species and is very valuable for invertebrates.


Flowering plants provide valuable pollen and nectar resources for insect pollinators.