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Catherine Nuttgent, Acces to Nature Officer stands in a coppiced oak tree on Wincobank Hill
Catherine Nuttgent, Acces to Nature Officer stands in a coppiced oak tree on Wincobank Hill

Trees and Woodlands Strategy: Woodland adventures on Wincobank Hill

Thursday 10 November 2016

Climbing to the top of Wincobank Hill in Sheffield it’s impossible not to gasp at the breathtaking views over the city.

The site, which is home to ancient woodland and a whole load of history, dominates the skyline of the Lower Don Valley.

We paid a visit with Access to Nature Officer, Catherine Nuttgens to look at this historic site and the amazing oak trees that grow there.

During the first World War, like many things, coal was rationed and local residents were desperate for firewood. All the oak trees on Wincobank Hill were levelled to the ground and used for firewood. But, the trees came back with a new lease of life, they coppiced, growing several stems from the base to form their fascinating new shape and creating a whole world of imagination for young adventurers playing in the woods.

Wincobank Hill has a diverse history, which includes an Iron Age Hill Fort (part of The Roman Ridge), a scheduled monument which occupies a commanding position on the hilltop.  With it’s panoramic views across Sheffield it is thought to have been a defensive barrier, which formed a territorial boundary in the late Iron Age and the early medieval period.

Down the western slopes of the hill is Wincobank Wood, the remains of an ancient coppice woodland, which is listed in the South Yorkshire Inventory of Ancient Woodland, with the earliest record dating back to 1564.

The woodland is a valuable nature conservation area, supporting several priority species of birds, such as Meadow Pipit, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Song Thrush.

Whether you love woodland dog walks, climbing trees, building dens, bird watching or just a leisurely stroll, Sheffield’s trees and woodlands are an important part of our everyday lives.

Our draft trees and woodlands strategy has been written to help us plan how we will manage trees, just like these at Wincobank Hill, and all of our 180 woodlands for the next 14 years.

We want Sheffield residents to help us with these plans and are asking people to get involved with our consultation.

Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “The role of trees in our beautiful landscape is undoubtedly vital and in order to maintain that we must plan ahead.

“In Sheffield we are lucky to have access to 180 woodlands all across the city, not just in one or two areas, so it’s important we hear from as many people as possible. I would encourage everyone to get involved because this affects us all. Please have your say and help us set out how we manage our trees and woodlands for the future.”

The consultation launched on Friday 30 September and runs until Thursday 1 December 2016. People can read the draft strategy document plus other supporting documents, and complete the survey at https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/place-planning-1/trees-and-woodlands-strategy-consultation. The draft strategy document is also available at www.sheffield.gov.uk/parksandcountryside.

All feedback will be analysed and considered to help inform the final strategy document, which will be released for implementation in 2017.

People who need an alternative way to provide feedback or have any questions can contact parksandcountryside@sheffield.gov.uk or call 0114 2500500.