Lincolnshire Biodiviersty Partnership

We are delighted to report that Hubbards Hills was selected on March 24 2010 as a Local Wildlife Site as part of the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership programme.

Local wildlife sites are wildlife-rich areas that have been identified and selected for their nature conservation value. These sites are amongst the best places for wildlife in the county and represent the local character and distinctiveness of Lincolnshire. The Hills are already listed on the Local Authority Local Plan as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance.

The Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership identified Hubbards Hills as “a woodland habitat with parkland, bracken and running water.” Additional features are listed as veteran and pollarded trees, planted specimen trees, standing and fallen dead wood, abundant nectar sources, structural diversity, bare ground, rock outcrops and steep slopes.

The site was visited on July 18 2008 and the recorder Alex Prendergast listed the following that he found:

“This site occupies a section of the River Lud valley. The valley floor of this site is used as parkland and receives too much human pressure to be of significant value to wildlife. Although some interesting species are presented they are probably planted. These include guelder rose (Viburnum Opulus), Wayfaring tree (Viburnum Lantana), Dogwood (Cornus Sanguinea) and Spindle (Euonymus Europeaeus).

“Various other ornamental species are planted such as spotted laurel (Aucuba Japonica), Turkey Oak (Quercus Cerris), Weeping willow (Salix x Sepulcralis) and Wilson’s honeysuckle (Lonicera Nitida). There is also a small area of Beech (Fagus Sylvatica) woodland with Sycamore (Acer Pseudoplatanus) and little ground flora. An area of young beech plantation in the south of teh site also supports little ground flora.

“The steep eastern slopes support a good chalk woodland flora, excellent in places. Most of the area is dominated by Beech woodland with occasional pendunculate Oak (Quercus Robur), white Poplar (Populus Alba), Yew (Taxus Baccata), Common Lime (Tilis x Europaea) Wych Elm (Ulmus Glabra), Field Maple (Acer Campestre) and Hornbeam (Carpinus Betulus).

“An area in the centre of the eastern slope is dominated by small-leaved Lime (Tilia Cordata), which would represent a significant population of this species if it were natural, but these trees have probably been planted given their uniform age and co-occurrence wit the exotic silver lime (Tilia Tomentosa), Hazel (Corylus Avellana), Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna) and hybrid Hawthorn (Crataegus x media) are occasional in the shrub layer. A single, apparently wild, Whitebeam species (Sorbus cf Rupicola) was recorded growing out of the chalk on the steep slope above the road on the north of the site.

“The ground flora is sparse over much of the eastern slope but gets better towards the north of the site, where it includes lords-and-ladies (Arum Maculatum), false Brome (Brachypodum sylvaticum), harebell (Campanula Rotundifolia)m, Wood Sedge (Carex Sylvatica), Enchanter’s Fern (Dryopteris Filix-mas), Dog Mercury (Mercurialis Perennis), Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum Setiferum), Sanicle (Sanicula Europaea) and Dog Violet (Vioa Riviniana).

“The western slopes are dominated by Beech with much bramble (Rubus Fruticosus) at the base. This area was too steep and inaccessible to survey thoroughly.

“The stream supports no observable flora however small indetermined fish were recorded.

“Other animals recorded on the site include carrion crow (Corvus Corone), Chaffinch (Fringilla Coelebs), Wood Pigeon (Columba Palumbus) and Blackbird (Turdus Merula).

The Lincolnshire Biodiversity Programme’s categories explained.
Criteria WD1 recognises Hubbards Hills as “all semi-natural ancient woodland listed in Nature England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory” Interestingly only 0.8 per cent of Lincolnshire supports ancient, semi-natural woodland, which is approximately half the national average. Not only is this a scarce and declining habitat, but it is impossible to recreate once lost. It is crucial to the biological diversity of Lincolnshire that remaining areas of ancient semi-natural woodland are conserved.
Criteria WD5 recognises Parkland or wood pasture at least 1ha in extent that supports at least one veteran tree. This is explained: “The primary importance of both parkland and wood pasture is the potential for supporting veteran trees. These trees can provide suitable habitat for distinctive and important assemblages of fungi, epiphytic ferns, bryophytes and lichens, invertebrates associated with deadwood, bats and birds. Further features of value are younger trees for potential long term habitat continuity, as well as shrubs and other plants providing nectar sources from spring to autumn for deadwood invertebrates.
Criteria Mos4 recognises Areas of at least 1.0ha that support at least one individual habitat with an index score below the qualifying threshold, with a suite of additional features. This is explained: “Sites that fall below the qualifying threshold on botanical characteristics may have additional positive features that are of nature conservation interest or support significant populations of rare or protected species.”

*This new designation, which passes criteria WD1, WD5 and Mos4, encourages owners and managers of Local Wildlife Sites to consider wildlife when making their management decisions. The Hubbards Hills Trust is delighted to work with the Partnership to safeguard the important site for future generations.

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