Land adjacent to M6 Clayton, Lyme Brook

Habitat(s) to be improved Grassland, Invasive species, Woodland

Lead Organisation Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Site Area Lyme Brook

About The Site

A large site in Clayton to the south of urban Newcastle, the site is directly adjacent to the M6 Motorway.

The site itself consists of a number of habitats including plantation woodland, semi-natural broad-leaved woodland and amenity grassland.

The semi-natural woodlands already possess a good structure and a reasonably diverse ground flora which includes some ancient woodland indicator species. Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) was occasionally observed in the woodland and it has been notified as being infected with Phytophthora – a water mould which causes widespread damage to plants.

The plantation woodlands are entirely different in character to the seminatural ancient woodland with dense blocks of closely planted trees which are becoming more mature and in need of thinning. Little light is able to reach the woodland floor, leading to a ground flora that is generally dominated by Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) with few other species present. Species present are mostly native, however there are some species which don’t appear to be native, species compositions are mixed however some patches are dominated by Silver Birch (Betula pendula) or Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

The amenity grassland is species-poor and only contains a very limited range of species tolerant of the intense management regime and elevated nutrient levels (see Appendix 2 for full grassland species lists).

Original Work Plan

  • Enhancement of grassland areas through green hay strewing and/or supplementary seed sowing where appropriate.
  • Selective thinning of plantation woodlands to diversify the current woodland structure providing selected trees room to expand and allow more light to reach the woodland floor. Possibility to create rides, glades and a more staggered woodland edge to provide refuge for a wider diversity of species.
  • Control of invasive species.

Work Carried out to date:

  • Grassland restoration has taken place so to establish wild flower areas with green hay strewing completed (Summer 2019). The ongoing management of these are areas will continue into 2020.
  • Tree felling work has taken place in two phases to open the woodland so to increase light/shade penetration. This work was carried out over January 2019 and December 2019.
  • Control of invasive species – A local volunteer event is to be planned to help pull Himalayan Balsam, this will hopefully go ahead in June/July 2020.

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