Witham South 1
Grid Ref: SK960665 - SK970700

Status:   Site of Nature Conservation Importance (Lincolnshire Trust)

This 9ha site consists of the River Witham from Boultham extending south to the Lincoln City Council boundary at Bracebridge Low Fields. It also includes an area of marsh and winter flooded permanent grassland associated with the Witham corridor east of the river and south of Witham Leas. It has been designated as Critical Natural Asset for the following reasons:

1) The site is one of 11 in Lincoln to support un- and semi-improved neutral grassland, a habitat that has declined in Lincolnshire by 74% since 1938. At approx. 9ha, the site represents 4% of Lincoln's neutral grassland/marsh habitat.

2) The site is an integral part of a complex of SNCIs in the Witham Valley, and is a large part of the Witham Valley Green Wedge.

3) The site represents one of the last two areas of winter flooded grassland anywhere in Lincoln.  Winter flooded grassland is believed to have declined to an even greater extent than the 74% loss of all un-improved and semi-improved neutral grassland since 1938, due to cultivation following the embanking of major rivers such as the Witham.  Witham South supports an important habitat for passage migrant and wintering waders and passerines.

4) The site represents an opportunity to re-create historically important wetland and fen habitat, in an area where it can only be found in small, fragmented sites.

5) The site supports a number of species uncommon in the Lincoln area. These include:
Lychnis flos-cuculi
(4 sites in Lincoln)
Creeping jenny
Lysimachia nummularia
(3 sites in Lincoln)
Tubular water-dropwort
Oenanthe fistulosa
(2 sites in Lincoln)
Sedge warbler
Acrocephalus schoeniclus
(4 sites in Lincoln)
Common tern
Sterna hirundo
(3 sites in Lincoln)
Landscape Value
Largely natural riverside grassland areas forming important landscape components of the Witham Valley Green Wedge.  Open character of the land south of Brace Bridge contributes to strong visual links with open countryside beyond the city boundary.   Whole of the land contributes to enhancing and protecting fine views towards the Cathedral and the historic hillside city.