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Yorkshire Dales Condition Assessment

Gordon Haycock surveying

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority share our commitment to maintaining a biodiversity-rich countryside; consequently we were delighted to be commissioned to undertake Condition Assessment of UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitats in Upper Aire Parishes of the National Park. Working in one of England's most beautiful and inspirational landscapes was a real pleasure (despite the relentless rain!). In addition to monitoring known habitats we were also commissioned to explore previously unrecorded areas, mapping UK BAP habitats and assessing their condition.

Sites visited were all outside SSSI boundaries, however, much species-rich grassland was recorded and assessed and limestone pavement found to be in good condition. Of particular interest were small pockets of calaminarian grassland associated with spoil from ancient lead mines. The spoil is rich in heavy metals, and a special community of plants is present. Calaminarian grassland has an extremely limited distribution in Europe and is on Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive and as such forms an internationally important habitat. It is a qualifying feature in the adjacent Craven Limestone Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC), so it was especially pleasing to locate previously unrecorded sites nearby.

Another strand of our work was recording hedgerows and ponds which allowed us to record and assess a number of rather interesting spring-fed ponds in amongst the limestone outcrops and overlying peatlands.

As is typical with Haycock and Jay projects, we delivered on time, on budget and in a comprehensive manner.