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Flora

 

The information on this page was kindly compiled by the Wildlife Trusts.

The Spinney can be divided into four separate areas, each with a diverse habitat:

Area 1: Mature Woodland

This is the largest area in the Pocket Park, and is designated a County Wildlife Site.  This title is given to sites that are of value for wildlife in a county context.  It is a small mature wood of approximately 2 acres (0.85 hectares).

The borough boundary is marked by an obvious bank running along the southern edge of this wood in an ESE to WSW direction; mature hawthorn and standard trees along the bank could possibly be remnants of an old hedgerow. The west boundary of the woodland is also marked by an old bank adjacent to the main footpath through the Spinney.

The canopy is dense but diverse – ash (Fraxinus excelsior), pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), beech (Fagus sylvatica) and horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) predominate with occasional cherry (Prunus avium) and Scots  pine (Pinus sylvestris). The shrub-layer is similarly diverse including common species but also less common species such as wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and spurge laurel (Daphne laureola).

Ivy (Hedera helix) dominates on all but the trampled paths which criss-cross the wood; other species were recorded occasionally and these are listed below.

There is a good amount of standing and fallen dead wood; this provides excellent habitat for certain invertebrate species, which in turn provide food for birds such as woodpeckers.

Area 2: Recently established ash woodland

The bank on the southern edge of the mature woodland follows the borough boundary and marks a boundary between the old woodland and more recently established woodland (probably dating from the 1980s). The canopy is almost exclusively ash, with very occasional shrubs – common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and cherry (Prunus avium).  The field-layer is dominated by cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris).

This is much less disturbed than the mature woodland, presumably due to the close proximity of the young trees inhibiting access.

Area 3: Blackthorn Scrub

Where the two boundary banks of the mature wood meet is a small area of blackthorn scrub forming a dense, dark canopy. The field-layer is again dominated by ivy (Hedera helix), with very occasional herb robert (Geranium robertianum), hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolata) and cuckoo pint (Arum maculatum).

This provides excellent nesting habitat for birds and will also provide food in the form of sloes through the autumn and winter.

Area 4: Grassland

A small corner in the south-west of the site comprises tall, coarse grassland, together with bramble thickets. The grassland is dominated by tall oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), with some field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), cock’s-foot (Dactylis glomerata), rosebay willlowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) and a few other species together with scattered young shrubs and trees – common hawthorn and ash.

 

 

Detailed list of species.

1. Mature woodland

Woody species – canopy and shrub layers

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Field maple

Acer campestre

R

Native, common

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

O

Introduction, common

Horse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

O

Introduction, common

Common hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

O

Native, common

Spurge laurel

Daphne laureola

OLF

Native, occasional

Beech

Fagus sylvatica

O

Native in some parts of Britain; common

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

F

Native, frequent

Holly

Ilex aquififolium

O

Possibly native in the county, often planted

Scot’s pine

Pinus sylvestris

R

Introduction, planted

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

LO

Native, common

Cherry

Prunus avium.

R

Native, occasional

Pedunculate oak

Quercus robur

F

Native, common

Dog rose

Rosa canina

O

Native, common

Elder

Sambucus nigra

O

Native, very common

Wych elm

Ulmus glabra

O

Native, frequent

 

Field layer species:

Woody species listed here were present in the field-layer as saplings.

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Horse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

O

Introduction, common

Hedge garlic

Alliaria petiolata

O

Native, abundant

Cow parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

OLF

Native, very common

Cuckoo pint

Arum maculatum

O

Native, common

Hairy brome

Bromopsis ramosa

O

Native, common in woodlands

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

O

Native, frequent

Cleavers

Galium aparine

O

Native, extremely common

Herb robert

Geranium robertianum

OLF

Native, very common

Wood avens

Geum urbanum

OLF

Native, common

Ivy

Hedera helix

D

Native, very common

Holly

Ilex aquifolium

R

Possibly native in the county, often planted

Nipplewort

Lapsana communis

R

Native, common

Greater plantain

Plantago major

R

Native, very common

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus agg.

O

 

Wood dock

Rumex sanguineum

O

Native, occasional

Hedge woundwort

Stachys sylvatica

O

Native, very common

Black bryony

Tamus communis

OLF

Native, common

Nettle

Urtica dioica

O

Native, extremely common

Sweet violet

Viola odorata

OLF

Native, common

 

2. Recent ash woodland

Woody species – canopy and shrub layers

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Common hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

O

Native, common

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

D

Native, frequent

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

O

Native, common

 

Field layer species

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Cow parsley

Anthriscus sylvestris

A

Native, very common

 

3. Blackthorn scrub

Woody species – canopy and shrub layers

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Blackthorn

Prunus spinosa

D

Native, common

 

 

Field layer species

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

R

Introduction, common

Hedge garlic

Alliaria petiolata

O

Native, abundant

Cuckoo pint

Arum maculatum

LO

Native, common

Herb robert

Geranium robertianum

OLF

Native, very common

Ivy

Hedera helix

D

Native, very common

 

4. Grassland

Common name

Scientific name

Abundance

Status in Northamptonshire

Tall oat-grass

Arrhenatherum elatius

D

Native, common

Rosebay willowherb

Chamerion angustifolium

LA

Native, common

Creeping thistle

Cirsium arvense

LA

Native, frequent

Field bindweed

Convolvulus arvensis

F

Native, common

Common hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

O

Native, common

Cock’s-foot

Dactylis glomerata

FLA

Native, very common

Field horsetail

Equisetum arevense

OLF

Native, common

Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

R

Native, frequent

Prunus

Prunus sp.

R

Native, common

Bramble

Rubus fruticosus agg.

LD

 

 The abundance of species found on the site is measured by use of the DAFOR scale: D (dominant), A (abundant), F (frequent), O (occasional), R (rare). L is used to represent a species that is local in occurrence, e.g. LF would represent a species that is frequent in a few areas but not elsewhere.

The status of plants in Northamptonshire is taken from The Flora of Northamptonshire (Gent & Wilson, 1995).