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WICKERSLEY WOOD
ROTHERHAM

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Wickersley Wood lies on the southern edge of Wickersley, 6 kilometres east of the centre of Rotherham. Unlike all of the other Heritage Woodlands, it is not owned by a Local Authority, being instead on a long-term lease to Wickersley Parish Council from a private landowner.

The wood is first recorded as a coppice woodland belonging to the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury in a document written in around 1600. This clearly makes it an ancient woodland, in other words, one that has been in existence for at least the last 400 years.
Further evidence for this comes from the fact that the woodland contains fourteen plant species characteristic of ancient woodlands.

The woodland at the site can be divided into two parts. The western third of the area has been greatly modified by plantation forestry and is characterised by mature Oak and Beech. The very dense canopy of this has damaged much of the ground flora and prevented any substantial regeneration of young trees. In contrast, the rest of the site is typified by dense Oak and Birch which has developed naturally following clear-felling during World War 2. As well as woodland, an attractive clearing in the centre of the site supports acid grassland with heather.

Wickersley Wood
This attractive clearing with heather lies in the centre of Wickersley Wood.

There is a varied bird population, which includes Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Spotted Flycatcher. A number of relatively unusual scarce invertebrates are known to inhabit the wood, and mammals present include Brown Hare, Fox and Pygmy Shrew.

Being situated on the edge of Wickersley, the wood is very well used by local people. Unlike many of the other Heritage Woodlands it is relatively flat throughout and this makes it accessible to a wide range of users. A network of footpaths exists throughout the site.

A programme of woodland restoration and access improvement work is now taking place in order to restore the area to its former glory and to maximise its potential as a recreational and educational resource. Some tree thinning has already taken place in order to encourage natural regeneration of native trees such as Oak, Birch and Hazel, and to benefit the ground flora. Group felling with similar aims in mind has also begun in the area of mature Oak and Birch woodland in the west of the site. In the clearing in the centre of the wood, scrub clearance will continue to be undertaken to improve the habitat value of the area of grassland and heather. Five new specially designed entrance points will be installed in order to allow access on foot and to those in pushchairs and wheelchairs, whilst at the same time excluding motorbikes and horses. In addition, the woodland boundaries are being improved through the restoration of neglected hedgerows. Finally, in order to raise awareness of the history and natural history, recreational potential and management of the wood, a programme of interpretative events is being run at the site. Because the wood lies close to several schools, there is considerable potential for use of the woodland as an 'outdoor classroom'.



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