Woodlands are one of the most treasured parts of the Barnsley landscape. The carpets of spring flowers in many of our ancient broad-leaved woodlands are a breath-taking sight.
Woods and their trees, undergrowth and leaf litter, are important for wildlife; for food, nesting and roosting, shelter and a refuge from predators. They support fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns; flowering plants; butterflies, moths and other invertebrates; bats and foraging mammals; and birds.
There are five national woodland ‘priority habitats’ in Barnsley, for which planning policies should ‘promote the preservation, restoration and re-creation’ National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 117.
Mixed Deciduous or Broadleaf Woodland, mainly mixed Oak-Birch woodland which is the natural woodland cover on the coal measure soils of Barnsley.
Upland Oakwood existing as remnants in the cloughs of the Dark Peak millstone grit area of Barnsley although it lacks the rich range of lichens, mosses and ferns found in still wetter and colder areas.
Wet Woodland, the natural woodland cover for wet soils with Willow, Alder, Birch and Ash as dominant trees.
Woodpasture and Parkland has individual or groups of trees within grazed grassland with the majority of veteran trees found in historic parklands.
Traditional Orchards are an additional national priority ‘woodland’ habitat, sometimes old and sometimes more recently planted.
However all woodland can be valuable for biodiversity; including scrub which is an additional local priority.
We need also to note that some areas have long-standing conifers or non-native trees that may be valuable habitat for species not common locally. The ecological value of such areas should be investigated before replacement.
Woodland habitat can also be found in small copses, and in wooded strips
along old parish boundaries, roads, tracks and streams.
Notable trees are also found in hedgerows and free standing in fields.
NPPF 117 To minimise impacts on biodiversity.., planning policies should promote the preservation, restoration and re-creation of priority habitats, linked to national and local targets’
Local Priority Habitats
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Map produced by South Yorkshire Forest Partnership for Barnsley Woodland Strategy.
Distribution of woodland in Barnsley
Ancient woodland dark green
Other woodland light green
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Barnsley has 3637 hectares (36 square km) of woodland, just under 10% of its total area. Most woods like Hugset, Silkstone Fall, Bagger and Wharncliffe are to the west of the M1, with some woods to the east like Wombwell Wood, West Haigh Wood near Grimethorpe, and Bell Bank Wood near Worsbrough.
Just over half of woodland in Barnsley is ancient woodland. These have had time to build up a varied and distinctive flora; these woods are irreplaceable.