Skipwith Common is a 265 ha (660 acre) National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, and one of the last remaining areas of lowland heath in the north of the England. The estate manages the land with the support of Natural England.
The management objective is to continue to improve the quality of the habitats to ensure that the reserve continues to be an exemplar for its mosaic of wet and dry lowland heath. Employing ancient methods, we use the primitive and hardy rare breed Hebridean sheep, Longhorn cattle and Exmoor ponies to graze and browse the scrub. This grazing stimulates regrowth and generates disturbance to ensure that the incredible diversity will survive well into the next millennium.
Walking round the Skipwith NNR is like a mini wildlife safari: as well as the livestock, there are healthy populations of plants and fungi, birds, spiders...and care must be taken not to disturb grass snakes or adders.
Dogs are welcome to accompany walkers but must be kept on short leads at all times so as not to disturb the wildlife.
STEWARDSHIP ACROSS THE ESTATE
Countryside Stewardship Schemes are in place across the in hand farm and the woodland, complementing the Higher Level Stewardship of Skipwith Common NNR. These schemes enhance wildlife by creating a mosaic of habitats across the primarily arable landscape generating connectivity for wildlife over hundreds of acres.
They preserve heritage grassland, create wildlife corridors from grass margins and hedge restoration, and convert the more unproductive field corners to areas of wildflowers and wild bird cover. Species of note on the wider farmland include grey partridge, lapwing, skylarks, tree sparrow, corn buntings and barn owl.
THREE HAGGES WOODMEADOW
Three Hagges Woodmeadow, originally designed and planted in 2012 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee year, provides volunteering and educational opportunities as well as permissive walks for the local community.
The woodmeadow was pioneered by Rosalind Forbes Adam and The Woodmeadow Trust whose aim was to demonstrate the often-neglected aspect of floral diversity that can be fostered in new woodland, whilst also combining woodland and meadow to generate a massive uplift in biodiversity through a mosaic of habitats and abundance of messy edges.
The woodmeadow is now managed by Plantlife to help it boost its amazing efforts to engage even more people with the importance of woodmeadow habitats and provide an exemplar demonstration site.
improving the quality of habitats using ancient methods
IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF HABITATS using ANCIENT METHODS