At the end of September, our volunteers were out working on the meadow at the edge of Bitholmes Wood (located between Wharncliffe Side and Deepcar).
The woods are owned by the Woodland Trust and the Steel Valley Project undertakes an annual contract to help manage the rich variety of species in the meadow.
What work took place?
By the autumn, the wild flowers in the meadow have set seed and it’s therefore a perfect time for the grass to be cut.
A power scythe was used to cut most of the grass (although strimmers were needed on the steeper areas of the banking) and then the team raked the hay away.
The reason for this work is to help to remove nutrients and support the wild flower species in the area. It also limits the growth of the more vigorous grass and brambles which could otherwise take over and eventually revert the meadow back to woodland.
What wildlife can be found in the meadow?
Two wild flowers found here are Sheep’s Bit Scabious which has bright blue flower heads and also Black Knapweed which, contrary to the name, actually has pink flower heads.
Butterflies seen in the area include Speckled Wood, the well-known and easily recognised Red Admiral and the Comma butterfly (which gets its name from a white mark looking like a comma on its underside).
There are also small copses of woodland around the meadow which support woodland edge species and attract many different types of bird.
What else have you done in the area?
The Steel Valley Project has undertaken other work in the Bitholmes Wood area, check out this post from earlier in the year to find out more.
How can I get involved?
We’re always happy to chat with people interested in volunteering their time with us.
Find out more via this link or email Kate Hughes, our Environmental Project Officer, to arrange a meeting with her at our office in Stocksbridge before coming on a ‘taster day’.