A stunning woodland with a meandering beck trickling through – step into Stoneycliffe Wood, a semi-natural ancient woodland site, to enjoy bluebells and ramsons in spring, breeding birds in summer and fungi in autumn.
Historically managed for timber production, Stoneycliffe Wood is now being managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to protect the older trees and diversify the canopy structure. The woodland, which is mostly on a steep slope, is primarily dominated by oak and birch but if you look closely you can find amazing veteran sweet chestnuts as well. Come spring there are magnificent displays of bluebells and wild garlic, also known as ramsons, with yellow archangel in summer, all of which are considered as ancient woodland indicator species. Streamside plants include wood club-rush, hemlock water dropwort and Sprengel’s bramble.
All three species of woodpecker frequent the woodland, feeding on the plethora of insects in the dead wood, which provides an important habitat for them. Several rare spiders have been recorded here. The invertebrate species are also a fantastic food source for the numerous other bird species that breed on site including chiffchaffs and willow warbler.
Mammals such as foxes, voles, shrews and stoats have been recorded throughout the site. A small beck flows through the west side of the reserve exposing layers of the Coal Measures geological formation.
The Trust has been improving footpaths on site to provide good access for visitors. Practical conservation work has included thinning the woodland to increase structural and age diversity and to create more deadwood for insects. Bracken and Himalayan balsam are also controlled annually to prevent them from swamping the woodland flowers.