One of the few remaining areas of unimproved farmland around the moorland fringes, Hammond’s Field forms a small part (x4.2 hectares) of the South Pennine Moors Special Protected Area (SPA). Rich in wildlife, this semi-improved wet pasture has an interesting mosaic of habitats enclosed by traditional drystone walls.
Hammond’s Field is generally very wet in winter as evidenced by large areas of soft rush and smaller clumps of sphagnum moss. Field woodrush and grasses such as Yorkshire fog, common bent and marsh foxtail are very much in evidence. Other common species include creeping buttercup, cuckooflower, heath bedstraw and tormentil.
Along with the surrounding rough grassland pasture, hay meadows and moorland, Hammond’s Field provides a varied mosaic of habitats for important wading bird species such as lapwing, snipe, curlew and golden plover, both in the breeding and wintering seasons. Management is focused around providing suitable breeding habitat for curlew, lapwing and snipe through control of soft rush. Cattle graze the reserve to create a more diverse vegetation structure from late summer and through the autumn when there is least disturbance to breeding birds and ground flora.
A large number of common toads and smooth newts have been found hibernating in the old drystone wall on the southern boundary. Skylarks and meadow pipits have also been known to successfully nest on the reserve and swallow, house martin, kestrel, grey wagtail, mistle thrush, goldfinch and linnet are regular visitor. The reserve also attracts and supports a large variety of butterflies, with meadow brown, gatekeeper, peacock, small heath, ringlet, small tortoiseshell, red admiral, orange tip, green veined white, small white, large white and small copper all having been recorded during the summer of 2017. You may also be lucky enough to see a painted lady or wall brown butterfly that have also recently been recorded very nearby the reserve. Email us for more information.