Work starts to save the true bluebells of Sheffield

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Moss Valley bluebells by Claire TaylorMoss Valley bluebells by Claire Taylor

A grant of over £24,000 from Veolia Environmental Trust has enabled Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to begin conservation work to protect the famous native bluebells of Moss Valley Woodlands, a popular nature reserve between Jordanthorpe and Norton, just to the south of Sheffield.

The project has two main phases. The first involves a vegetation survey, which has already taken place, along with the removal bracken which has been removed from the wildflower-rich grassland at Dowey Lumb, to protect the wildflowers from being over-shaded by this invasive plant. A new entrance gate will also be installed in the summer, to provide a welcoming entrance for visitors and deter illegal motorcyclists from getting into the nature reserve.

The next phase of woodland management works will begin in the autumn. This will involve removal of encroaching holly and scrub, opening up woodland glades to improve the habitat for bluebells and other native woodland species. Specialist tree contractors will also be brought in to clear areas around some of the oldest ‘veteran’ trees in the woodland, and a number of trees will be pollarded to create valuable standing dead wood habitat.

Moss Valley Woodlands nature reserve is a beautiful ancient woodland renowned for the rare flora and fauna which call it home. This includes sweet woodruff, wood anemone, yellow archangel and elusive roe deer, as well as its beautiful springtime carpet of bluebells. Bluebells and other native wildflower species are at risk from invasive species, in particular holly, which forms dense thickets and risks swamping out the delicate wildflowers.

Nabil Abbas, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes Manager (South), said: “Moss Valley Woodlands are home to a fabulous display of woodland wildflowers, but we have been concerned for a number of years that we risk losing these as invasive holly takes over parts of the woodland. This grant funding from Veolia Environmental Trust has given us the opportunity to protect our precious wildflowers and also to improve the wider ancient woodland habitat both for wildlife and for the people who enjoy visiting the nature reserve.”

Paul Taylor, Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, added: “The hard work of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust and all their volunteers is commendable. They have put their Landfill Communities Fund award to brilliant use, preserving the reserve’s native flora and fauna, including one of nature’s finest displays for all to enjoy.”

If you would like to help carry out some of the land management tasks at Moss Valley Woodlands, please come along to one of our regular volunteer work days. Visit wildsheffield.com/whats-on for details.