WATH WOOD AND
Wath Wood and Boyd Royd form two parts of a single woodland block. They lie to the south of Wath and to the west of Swinton, just over 6 kilometres north of the centre of Rotherham.
The site contains several features of archaeological value, most notably a well-preserved section of the 'Roman Ridge', built between 450 and 600 AD in order to defend the Celtic kingdom of Elmet from the advancing Anglo-Saxons. In addition, Boyd Royd Wood is surrounded by a substantial woodland boundary bank, and a post-medieval well has been found in Wath Wood.
The woodland, which was probably once managed as a coppice-with-standards, is now largely dominated by mature Oak and Beech. The southern part of Wath Wood, which was clear-felled in the 1970's, is now dominated by dense young Birch and Oak. The acid soils, together with the heavy shade cast by the planted beeches, have resulted in most parts of the site having an impoverished ground flora. The animals are however of greater interest. There are a number of nationally scarce invertebrate species and the bird population includes Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl and Tawny Owl.
Situated on the urban fringe and being the only publicly owned woodland in the immediate vicinity, the site is a popular place for recreation. It is crossed by number of footpaths, including at least one Public Right of Way.
Some small scale tree thinning has already taken place in the areas of mature Beech and Oak in order to encourage natural regeneration of native trees such as Oak, Birch and Hazel. A regular cycle of coppicing has been introduced in the area of dense young Birch and Oak on the southern edge of the site and this has provided open space and a scrub like habitat, in contrast to the mature woodland on the rest of the site. Under the Fuelling a Revolution programme, similar woodland restoration work will continue with the aim of further improving the structure of the woodland and its potential for wildlife. The Scheduled Ancient Monument of the 'Roman Ridge' will be protected, at least in part by diverting existing footpaths away from this. Other access work is taking place to maximise the potential of the site as a recreational and educational resource and, to supplement this, a programme of guided walks, events relating to the natural history and historic interest of the site, children's events and practical management tasks is being run.
Other nearby Heritage Woodlands are: