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Snaizeholme - north of Ribblehead Viaduct


Well-known member
mikem said:
Abandoned mine sites tend to be great for wildlife in the medium term, but often mature into something less productive because there are no large mammals tending the environment (like bison etc would have done after the ice age).

That reminds me of another regular task I did with the conservation volunteers. The Devil's Dyke[1] north of Cambridge is an SSSI and an SAC. It's chalk grassland, supporting, amongst other flora,  pasqueflowers. It used to be grazed by sheep, but that became uneconomical, it's over 11km long but only about 40m wide. We used to go and mow the banks (tricky on such a steep slope) and rake the grass into the ditch, to keep hawthorn, etc from growing and turning into scrubland.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Dyke,_Cambridgeshire


Well-known member
ChrisJC said:
If an ancient woodland habitat is irreplaceable, why are there so many SSSI's on post industrial sites? You can't move for falling over some statuary designation on a piece of land that was a hive of industry 150 years ago.

Really?  ;)

Nature always comes back if left to its own devices.

?Nature? isn?t a single indivisible thing. It?s made up of millions of species, which are becoming extinct at a rate unknown since the demise of the dinosaurs, largely as a result of our activities.

By the way, you referred to the Woodland Trust as ?political?. Is this on the basis that it is trying to improve some aspect of life? Isn?t this a rather wide definition of ?political??
Be a shame should the "pioneer" species end up being himalayan balsam and/or japanese knotweed for example.

And should the Woodland Trust want some (cheap) ash seedlings I can pretty well guarantee 50 of the little devils every year, they don't take this die-back fungus at all seriously in these here parts

ChrisJC said:
If an ancient woodland habitat is irreplaceable, why are there so many SSSI's on post industrial sites?

A site being designated as SSSI is complete separate from a piece of land being designated as "ancient woodland" although ancient woodland may also be an SSSI

Pridhamsleigh Cavern (and lots more caves) is SSSI which has nothing to do with the wood on the surface. https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1001878&SiteName=pridhamsleigh&countyCode=&responsiblePerson=&SeaArea=&IFCAArea=

"Description and Reasons for Notification:
This is one of three networks of cave passages in separate limestone outcrops around
Buckfastleigh. Detailed study has shown that the three networks developed over the same
time-span during the late Pleistocene period of Geological history about 150,000 years ago.
Furthermore, stages in the development of the caves can be related to stages in the development
of the valley of the River Dart. Accumulations of debris washed into the caves during their
formation contain important fossil remains which give indication of the age of the caves. The
caves also contain important and spectacular mineral deposits.
Pridhamsleigh Caves are important as a site for the endemic crustacean Niphargus glennei
which is abundant in the cave waters. This animal is thought to be a pre-glacial relict."

Ancient woodland is defined by the Government as "It?s any area that?s been wooded continuously since at least 1600 AD. It includes:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ancient-woodland-and-veteran-trees-protection-surveys-licences

" You cannot move an ancient woodland ecosystem because:
it?s not possible to replicate the same conditions at another site
it?s no longer an ancient woodland"

Ancient woodland is deemed to be irreplaceable because one of the things that happens in an ancient wood is the growth of fungus the largest "spanning an area of 3.5 square miles (2,200 acres; 9.1 km2). This organism is estimated to be some 8,000 years old and may weigh as much as 35,000 tons. If this colony is considered a single organism, it is the largest known organism in the world by area"  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armillaria_ostoyae#:~:text=A%20mushroom%20of%20this%20type,as%20much%20as%2035%2C000%20tons.


Well-known member
alanw said:
I'm now sad that despite a thorough search, my copy of Dr. Rackham's book "Ancient Woodland" seems to have gone missing in a house move.

And 5 days later, 4 years after they were packed away, two of his books have turned up (I'd misremembered what I had), hidden at the bottom of a box of 25mm slides.



Well-known member
Badlad said:
I'm not sure there is much in the way of caves in this area. 

I suspect the nearest cave may be the 33 m long Snaizeholme Pasture Cave. I only mention this because it doesn't appear in the most recent (1988) edition of Northern Caves Volume 1. The cave was found 10 years before the NC guide was published, however.

There's an article & survey in CPC Journal 5 (3) 1978 pages 350-352, together with a photograph of the entrance. Grid ref is SD836881, so not sure whether it'd be affected anyway.



Well-known member
. . . and a survey here:


Paul Marvin

Judi Durber said:
The woodland Trust are asking for donations to buy 550 acres at Snaizeholme "and create vibrant new native woodland for wildlife and people."

What do the locals think of this? 

Is covering the moors with trees again a good or bad thing for the caving environment?



Not local but know the area well, for me more trees the better there are too many cut down nowaday and not replaced.  :clap: (y)