Cross O'Cliff Orchard 11
Grid Ref: SK975685

Status:     Site of Nature Conservation Importance (Lincolnshire Trust)      

This site is an old pear orchard of approx. 1.4ha, contiguous with the Bracebridge Old Clay Pit SNCI.  It has been designated as Critical Natural Asset for the following reasons:

1) The site represents a good example of old (pre World War 2) orchard with larger trees than is common in contemporary orchards. Nationally, this is one of the very few surviving urban orchards, and supports a rich but fragile flora and fauna. Around 43% of Lincolnshire's orchard and parkland habitat has been totally lost since 1905, and a further 27% has been reduced in extent.  This is the only example of its type in Lincoln.

2) The site is thought to be the most northern traditional pear orchard in the British Isles and contains a number of scarce and ancient cultivars, including Little Hessel, Catshead and Peasgood Nonsuch. It is also probably the largest remaining standard orchard in Lincolnshire.

3) Much recent work has been done on bryophyte, fungi and invertebrate populations of old parkland and orchards, suggesting that they are a critical habitat for a number of nationally endangered species. Standing deadwood, also common in ancient orchards provides vital habitat for bats, all species of which are considered as rare and endangered in Lincolnshire. Further survey of the orchard for these species groups should be a priority.  

4) The site is linked to Bracebridge Old Clay Pit SNCI and provides valuable cover and green space in an area otherwise impoverished of such interest.

Landscape Value     
Together with the adjoining Bennetts Field and Old Clay Pit comprises a wooded hillside site which, as an extension of the Lincoln Cliff Area of Great Landscape Value designated by North Kesteven District Council, helps to define the line of the Lincoln Edge, an essential part of the character of the city and proposed for protection in the form of a Green Wedge. Claims have been previously received of the presence of protected species in the vicinity.