Pye Flatts Meadows, a SSSI near Hoylandswaine, consists of three fields of neutral hay-meadow grassland. There are colourful plants such as Yellow Rattle and bluish-violet Tufted Vetch, and other diverse plant species, including Adders Tongue Fern, Quaking Grass and Spotted Orchids. The meadows benefit from consistent traditional agricultural management. Access details
Harvested seed from Pye Flatts has been used to create a new meadow at RSPB Old Moor.
At Spring Meadows, Alderman’s Head and Cox Croft Meadows SSSI, above Langsett, eleven fields have also been traditionally managed for hay crop with late summer mowing. Common Knapweed is one of an abundance of colourful flowering plants and grasses.
Neutral grassland is found in lowland pastures and meadows on shale and alluvial soils in the Barnsley area. In non-agricultural settings, this species-rich grassland is less frequent but may be found in recreational sites, churchyards, roadside verges etc.
Unimproved or species-rich neutral grasslands are usually managed traditionally as hay-meadows or pastures; sustained by mowing and grazing later in the year after flowering plants have seeded. Semi-improved neutral grasslands are also managed for silage.
The soils on which Neutral Grassland develops are generally deeper and more fertile than those of Acid Grassland. This makes them more suitable for cultivation, so many areas of species-rich Neutral Grassland have been destroyed by ploughing and/or agricultural improvement.
Priority habitat details
Unimproved and semi-improved Neutral Grassland is a UK BAP broad habitat category.
Lowland Neutral Grassland has an alternative name: Lowland Meadow; and it is identified as UK priority habitat.
Unimproved and semi-improved Neutral Grassland are identified as such in Phase 1 habitat surveys.
There are 12 NVC types of unimproved and semi-improved Neutral Grassland of which the following are of note in Barnsley.
MG1 Oat-grass meadow
MG4 Burnet meadow
MG5 Knapweed meadow
Natural England has identified Lowland Meadow grassland priority habitat as Neutral Grassland with at least two frequent and two occasional examples from a list of 43 wildflowers indicative of this habitat.
Unimproved or semi-improved grassland is quite scarce and under threat. It should be protected and conserved.
The Barnsley criteria for selection of a local wildlife site due to its Lowland Meadow or Neutral Grassland habitat are that it should be
≥0.5ha in size and have an affinity with NVC communities MG4, MG5 or MG8
and/or have 15 or more species from a list of 50 Neutral Grassland indicator plants including grasses.
It may also be selected because of the fauna that such grassland supports.
Neutral grassland or Lowland Meadow. A colourful wildflower sward in summer, heavily used by insects such as bees and butterflies, arises from the high proportion of broad leaved plant species in unimproved (or sometimes semi-improved) Neutral grasslands. These lowland meadows and pastures are important habitats for Skylark, Lapwing and a number of other farmland birds.
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Local Wildlife Sites
Unimproved neutral grassland (lowland meadow)
10 Hollin and Spring Woods
18 Mag Wood Meadow
21 Falthwaite & Lowe Wood
25 Barnsley Canal / Wilthorpe Marsh
31 Sunny Bank, Horse Carr & Storrs Wood
37 Gipsy Marsh
46 Elsecar Reservoir
Italics: semi-improved neutral grassland also within Local Wildlife Site
Semi-improved neutral grassland
9 Brock Holes
11 Gunthwaite Dam/Clough Wood
13 North Wood
22 Stainborough Park
24 Worsbrough Reservoir
26 Cliffe Wood
27 Carlton Marsh
30 Short Wood & Hay Green
33 Redbrook Pastures
36 Broomhill Flash & Wombwell Ings
38 Old Moor & Wath Ings
39 Bolton-on-Dearne wetland
47 Hoyland Bank Wood
48 Bretton Park
51 Barrow Colliery
53 Kendal Scrub Green
55 Parkhill Nature Reserve
58 Wool Greaves Meadow
59 Thurgoland Glow Worm site,
Local Wildlife Sites.
A number of Local Wildlife Sites include areas of unimproved or semi-improved Neutral Grassland. Those specifically including unimproved or semi-improved Neutral Grassland are listed below.
Pye Flatts Meadow:
Granville Danny Clarke FRSA
For information on causes of loss and decline, legal protection, good management practice and roles, see Grasslands - general information.
Part of meadow near Worsbrough reservoir
Ungrazed meadow in Stainborough parklands