WWS PAGE 6

Cherry Orchard, Diglis

 Along the south-east boundary, this develops a denser woodland canopy and woodland herbs such as wood avens (Geum urbanum), ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) and ivy (Hedera helix) are found, a habitat similar to that on the south bank of the brook.

A little west of the brook there is evidence of a seasonal pond within a dense nettle bed.

5.3      OTHER GROUPS

Surveys were not made of other groups. However, casual observation was made of a few species. Blackbird (Turdus merula), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) were seen and shrews were heard in the rough grass.

A single specimen of the uncommon fungus (Leucoagaricus serenushttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Leucoagaricus_species), an agaric, was found in sparse vegetation in the sandy area at SO849l53l5. This is the first record of this fungus in Worcestershire.

6.       DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

A comprehensive habitat survey was carried out on the site soon after completion of capping of the municipal tip in 1987, as part of the Worcester’s Green Space survey (Worcester Nature Conservation Trust, 1990). Developments on the site appear to have been primarily on the capped
areas and the sandy bank, while the recreation ground and banks of the River Severn have remained largely unchanged. The capped areas have developed, through natural succession, from a mosaic of rather patchy meadow grasses and herbs, scattered scrub and ruderal species to one of rough grassland surrounded by dense scrub, bramble thickets and tall ruderal vegetation. The sandy area has lost species such as soapwort (Saponaria ofiicinalis) and hare’s-foot clover (Trifolium arvense),replaced by species such as ragwort and creeping thistle; this could be related to disturbance. To the south of the sandy area, in 1987 was a marshy area with a reed bed; this now is dominated by nettles and Himalayan balsam.

Currently, Cherry Orchard supports a good range of common invertebrates and plants. Many species of our native animals and plants are declining everywhere, with species which were once common now rare or infrequent. Sites that provide refuge for species that are still common are therefore important, with a good range of common species being an important wildlife feature in a similar way to a small number of less common species. On this site, these are able to survive due to the habitat diversity, although the main area of interest, regarding both of these groups is the large central area of rough grassland; the greatest abundance and diversity of wildlife is found here. The surrounding bramble thickets, nettle beds and scrub also provide resources for wildlife, but do not support such an abundance or diversity. If left to natural succession, this latter type of habitat will continue to encroach onto the rough grassland and eventually dominate the site, and consequently the site will lose much of its wildlife interest. However, a mosaic of communities can be of high wildlife value, providing a wider variety of niches and therefore potentially supporting a higher diversity of species. Habitat boundaries can be important; for instance, many species of invertebrates live in the interface between different habitat types.

 

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