Hospital/ Skellingthorpe Moor Plantation 19
Grid Ref: SK925695

Status:     Site of Nature Conservation Importance (Lincolnshire Trust)            

This approx. 71 ha site consists of dense secondary birch Betula sp. woodland, with damp hollows in parts, with a mixture of oak Quercus sp., Scot's pine Pinus sylvestris, European larch Lam decidua, rowan Sorbus aucuparia, and coppiced hazel Coryllus avellana scattered throughout. There are also extensive areas of rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum, particularly close to the route of the by-pass. Ground flora is sparse due to the dense canopy, but wood avens Geum urbanum, bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta and foxglove Digitalis purpurea all occur in some of the rides. Much of the woodland has developed over heathland with some areas of purple moor- grass Molinia caerulea, heath bedstraw Galium saxatile and occasionally heather Calluna vulgaris beneath the canopy. It has been designated as Critical Natural Asset for the following reasons:

1) The site possesses areas of heathland (area unknown), one of only five sites in Lincoln with this habitat, although it is only present under the woodland canopy. It is the single largest of 9 areas in the city dominated by woodland (approx. 71 ha). The site has wide scope for future heathland restoration.

2) A number of species uncommon in the Lincoln area have been recorded from this site. These include:
Wood small-reedCalamagrostis epigejos   (2 sites in Lincoln)
Wood sedge Carex sylvatica    (1 site in Lincoln)
Purple moor-grass   .:...            Molinia caerulea (1 site in Lincoln)
3) The large area of woodland cover supports a diverse avifauna, including breeding woodcock, sparrowhawk, long-eared owl, kestrel, willow warbler, goldcrest and all three species of woodpecker. The site is also visited by common buzzard, an uncommon species in Lincolnshire. The deadwood in the Wood provides potentially good roosting habitat for bats.

Landscape Value
An extensive area of woodland bisected by the Lincoln Relief Road. Greatly enhances the appearance of the Relief Road as a main approach road into the City and has an important role in defining the extent of the urban area and the setting of the City within the countryside. The land makes a valuable contribution to the character of the Birchwood area of the city and in providing a visual and acoustic screen to nearby housing development. Provides a continuous link in the form of a proposed Green Wedge between sites of nature conservation interest and safeguarded open space within North Kesteven District. Those parts of the site west of the Lincoln Relief Road are included in the Skellingthorpe Moor/ Hospital Plantation No.1 Tree preservation Order 1989.