Wadsley and Loxley Commoners
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Management

The Common is a beautiful and diverse place suitable for various leisure activities. However, as we are all aware, the whole area is being overrun by invasive species, which threaten this beauty and diversity.

Why manage the Common?

If nothing is done and the Common is left to develop naturally, the whole area will become dense woodland of mainly Birch with some Oak. This woodland would destroy the heather and the meadow. The Common would lose its unique character, as there are already plenty of dense woodlands in the area. The Common would lose the diversity of habitat that is an essential part of its charm.

The Heathland is especially important because lowland heath is nationally and internationally rare and declining. To maintain and reinstate the Common's Heathland is a priority in Sheffield's biodiversity action plan. English Nature has designated the Common as a nature reserve because of its Heathland.

For the last 20 years there have been management plans for the Common. The Sheffield City Council Ranger Service, in consultation with local people and environmental experts, drew up the plans. The plans were to be delivered by the Ranger Service. For various reasons these plans have not been delivered successfully. Although some good work has been carried out, none of the long-term goals have been reached. Recently the Ranger Service has suffered severe cut backs and the City Council's commitment to the environment is woefully inadequate.

The Commoners have now adopted their own plan for future management and this work will mostly be done by volunteers or funded by WALC. The Ranger Service will still oversee and support the work. The proposed work follows the ethos of the two previous ten-year management plans, but is on a much reduced scale.

The plan will allow most of the Common to remain or become Silver Birch and Oak woodland. However, the existing areas of Heathland (near Rural Lane and the Trig Point) will be maintained, and parts of the sports fields will be mowed to keep them open as meadowland. If resources allow, other existing small areas of Heathland will be joined up to provide wildlife corridors across the Common.

Carrying out the management plan will mostly involve cutting back invasive silver Birch and Oak saplings, which are killing the heather. However, other activities include Heather planting, litter picking, footpath clearing, bench repairing, and path clearing.

WALC always needs new volunteers to help with conservation work, if you could spare an hour or two to help, please contact WALC via the Contacts page.