AND RAWSON SPRING
This site, which is made up of three or four small blocks of woodland, is located 4 kilometres north of Sheffield city centre and just to the north of the Shirecliffe area of the city. The blocks of woodland, which lie on a prominent ridge overlooking the Don Valley, are divided by roads and paths, including Herries Road which runs through the middle of the site.
Scraith Wood and Rawson Spring were at one time part of Park Wood, most of which was removed for the mining of stone, ganister and clay. Both woodlands are recorded in documents dating from 1600 and 1637, making them ancient woodlands, in other words, woods that have been in existence for at least the last 400 years. The early name for Scraith Wood was Scryhcrest. 'Scryh' means scree, referring to the steep slope on which the woodland lies. The word 'Spring' in the name of Rawson Spring Wood tells us that this woodland was managed by coppicing, probably to produce charcoal for the early iron and steel industry.
Both Scraith Wood and Rawson Spring are semi-natural woodlands. Scraith Wood is an uneven-aged woodland mainly dominated by old, slow-growing Oak coppice. A range of other species is present, including Birch, Hawthorn, Holly, Field Maple, Hazel, Beech, Sycamore, Sweet Chestnut, Whitebeam and Elm. Rawson Spring Wood is dominated by mature Sycamore and Oak with a number of young Whitebeam and a few Alder. The woods have a moderately rich ground flora including several species normally restricted to ancient woodland. In the lowest part of the site, just above the 'Five Arches' railway bridge, is an area of Heather.
Parking for the woodlands can be found on nearby roads and a surfaced path runs uphill between Scraith Wood and Rawson Spring. Apart from this, access to the site is currently poor, with that for people with disabilities being non-existent.
Under the Fuelling a Revolution programme, woodland restoration and access improvement work is taking place to restore the woods to their former glory and to maximise their potential as a recreational and educational resource. Some thinning, coppicing and group felling is being carried out in order to create a more varied woodland structure and to encourage the regeneration of native trees such as Oak and Hazel. Sycamore and Whitebeam are being particularly favoured for removal. In addition to woodland management work, the habitat value of open areas within the site will be improved.
Access to both woodlands, which is currently poor, will be improved by upgrading the path system, constructing steps and creating resting places with seating. Work is also required to reduce problems of litter and fly tipping, and vandalism in the form of fires. Site boundaries, which before the start of the Fuelling a Revolution programme were in poor condition, have been properly defined by the construction of post and rail fencing, with gates and barriers to control access by unauthorised vehicles. Finally, the potential of the site as an educational and recreational resource is being developed through guided walks, events relating to the natural history and historic interest of the site, children's events and practical management tasks.
Other nearby Heritage Woodlands are: