Please help save Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail by
Sign our petition to Sheffield City Council:https://chng.it/6vXHqcGG4S
also, our petition to Parliamentary Ombudsman:https://chng.it/FPc7X4Nq
When first developed our oasis received government funding under Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Agreement. The Map shows the important areas of Maintenance of Hedgerows, Ditches, Grassland and Wetlands that are of very high environmental value.
Click here to see a map showing what is at stake:
Owlthorpe Grassland Grazing Project.
Between 1980 and 2002 Sheffield Lost 75.5% of its unimproved grasslands, therefore our grasslands are a valuable environmental resource. The project's objectiveis to manage our grasslands and safeguard the wildflowes and wildlife for future generations to enjoy. The grazing project is part of a programme of strategic planting to link up the green corridore of Sheffield.
Well-managed hedgerows are not just field bounderies but are among our richest wildlife habitats. The mixture of shrubs and trees offer food and cover for a wide variety of animals, including birds, beetles, butterflies, mice and voles. Some species spend their entire life in the hedgerow, some only eat there, some sleep there and some shelter while passing through, using the hedge as a green corridor.
Owlthorpe Meadows Invertebrate Survey - 2012 By Derek Whiteley
Although planning permission to build on plot (F) Owlthorpe Grass Land Grazing Project, was originally refused, it is very disappointing to see that Sheffield (LPA) have now reintroduced plot (F) with a proposal to build 150 new properties on part of the 22 acres of the Grassland Grazing Project. Shame on Sheffield (LPA).
Published 2nd February 2023 Natural England unveils new Green Infrastructure Fraimework.
"Natural England's commitment is that the public should be able to access green space or water,such as woodlands, wetlands, parks and rivers, within a 15-minute walk from their home."
In our campaign to preserve the Owlthorpe oasis, we have been grateful for the involvement of Sheffield University, students studying Landscape and Architecture under the guidance of Dr Nicola Dempsey. Her students took an indepth look at the proposal to build in Owlthorpe by reviewing the hundreds of local objections which had been submitted to Sheffield LPA. They also studied the interpretation boards http://ecological-owlthorpe.org/Interpritation.htm that show the extent of environmental work carried out in 2012 under the guidance of Natural England. The students all came to the same conclusion that our oasis should be preserved as an environmental success using nature-based solutions to combat downstream flooding. They fondly named the project
The history of Owlthorpe appears in the 1086 Doomsday Book. Sickles and scythes were manufactured to support the farming industry. Water was pumped from the mines into the Ochre Dyke. With 12,243 trees & hedgerow plants planted also 64,000 bulbs & 1,500 square meters of wildflower seed sown our oasis is a wild life sanctuary. The map below shows Hedgerows/ditches + grassland of high environmental value . For more information, please visit our website: https://ecological-owlthorpe.org Surely it is difficult to understand why Sheffield (LPA) wish to destroy our open space, used and loved by the local community.
If allowed to proceed this project would completely destroy the Owlthorpe Grassland Grazing Project which is a major component of the award winning Owlthorpe Heritage & Nature Trail a rural Oasis in the urban southeast of Sheffield. The trail was opened with an official event on March 16th 2012 by children from three local primary schools assisted by David Caufield - Sheffield City Council Officer, Clive Betts MP for Sheffield South East and Sheffield City Councillor Helen Mirfin-Boukouris.
The header waters of the Ochre Dyke are situated in Birley Woods. The photo above is take from the 15th hole on Birley Wood Golf Course, one of the highest points in the area, standing approx: 650ft above sea level GPS Co-ordinates 53.33975,-1.40247
Please read our editorial in the Yorkshire Bylines.
History of Ecological Owlthorpe
What is the origin of the name Owthorpe?
Owthorpe appears in the 1086 Doomsday Book as Obetorp in the ancient hundred of Bingham. Its origin may be "Outlying farmstead or hamlet of a man called Úfi or Ufa ", i. e. an Old Scandinavian or Old English personal name plus the widespread Danelaw element "thorpe" meaning hamlet. Lord and tenant-in-chief was Geoffrey Alselin .
Owlthorpe sits between Mosborough and Hackenthorpe.
Comprising of woodland and farmland the area has been farmed for many years and still is. History shows one of the predominant industries was using charcoal to make sickles and scythes for use in the farming industry. There are still many examples of trees that are still alive today that have been coppiced for use in the making of sickles and scythes. Below is the wording of an advertisement showing the industrial past:
"Thomas Staniforth & Co, Main St. , Hackenthorpe. - From Mosborough to Hackenthorpe to the World. Manufacturers of Sickles, Reaping Hooks, Patent Sharpening Hooks. Scythes, Hay & Straw Knives of every description. "
The Ochre Dyke
The Ochre Dyke gets it's name from the pollution of the water by yellow ochre (Iron Oxide) as a result of coal mining activity in the upper reaches of the valley. The area in and around Birley wood was extensively mined for coal and black-band iron ore from at least the medieval period up to the mid 20th century when Dent Main Colliery closed.
Birley Wood Pit / Dent Main Colliery https://www.mindat.org/loc-376953.html
There are a number of coal seams running under Owlthorpe: Sitwell Thin Coal, Sitwell, Rawmarsh and Silkstone. History shows that coal in Owlthorpe has been mined by a number of pits including the Birley group of pits.
One thing that both Moorhole and Birley Wood Pit / Dent Colliery have in common is that they are situated at the side of the Ochre Dyke; water had to be constantly pumped out of both when in operation. The Ochre Dyke has its header water in Birley Woods which stands 650ft above sea level. If you follow the path of the Ochre Dyke you will see it first passes through Birley Wood Pit / Dent Main Colliery then under Moor Valley and through the culvert opposite the garden centre GPS Coordinates: 53.33822,-1.385700 then past Moorhole Colliery. After the pits were closed in the late 1960s water was no longer pumped out. It is believed that both pits are in a permanent state of flooding with water pouring into the drains.
How Coal is formed
When dead plant matter decays into peat and is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years. Vast deposits of coal originate in former wetlands—called coal forests—that covered much of the Earth's tropical land areas during the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permiantimes. The coal deposits in Owlthorpe indicate that trees and vegetation have been present in this area for millions of years. I have had a look upstream in the Ochre Dyke and found some trees that have lived and died and are in a state of decay and are in the long process of biodegrading. It seems to me that the coal that runs under Owlthorpe was originally trees and vegetation which has washed under ground by the Ochre Dyke.
At the top of Moorhole Lane there is a Bridle Stile that leads past the Grazing project. To the right, at the bottom of Moorhole Lane the bridleway runs up to Moor Valley . Unfortunately this part of the Bridleway is somewhat overgrown. Nearby there is an ancient Bridle Stile Standing aprox: 515ft above sea level GPS Co-ordinates 53.328617,-1.374355 There is an information board that states “This grass track is known as bridle stile, an ancient packhorse rout which connected Sheffield to London via High Lane. It is believed the earliest record of bridle stile is 1299. Today this path is a public bridleway.”
Moorhole Farm House
Moorhole Farm House was demolished 1984 approximately after John Pratt and his family moved to Spinkhill Farm. The 1881 Census shows the resident of Moorhole Farm as John Lee a farmer of 150 acres aged 39, his wife Sarah aged 30, his two sons George aged seven, Edwin aged four months and his daughter Rose aged two. He employed two labourers and a boy. Also living at the farm was Clars Rose aged 26. All of those named above are listed as being born in Eckington, Derby , England . Additionally living at the farm was John Easten an unmarried agricultural labourer aged 20 born in Hibaldstowe, Lincoln , England .
At the turn of the century in 1894 there was a Blacksmiths Forge, Main Street , Hackenthorpe. It was situated inside a farmyard. In the 1894 directory the only blacksmith in Hackenthorpe belonged to William Price, in 1906 it is listed as the Oades Brothers. The blacksmith must have been kept busy with work from farms and the pit ponies that worked down the mines.
3 Way Stone Stile
The unique historic 3 way stone stile is situated at the top of the path just off Owlthorpe Lane aprox: 502ft above sea level. GPS Co-ordinates 53.33297,-1.37559. The stables where the pit ponies where kept was at the side of the 3 way stone stile.
A number of biological surveys have been carried out over the years in Ecological Owlthorpe by the ecology department of Sheffield City Council to establish the levels of Fauna and Flora that exist there. These records of 843 species have been added to the Biological Records Centre RECORDER database.
Owlthorpe Meadows Invertebrate Survey - 2010 By Derek Whiteley
Owlthorpe Meadows Invertebrate Survey - 2011 By Derek Whiteley
Owlthorpe Meadows Invertebrate Survey - 2012 By Derek Whiteley
Felling trees is known to be a major factor in upstream waters, and in line with Government policy the Owlthorpe area should be protected, not only for the wildlife etc., but also to protect down stream flooding in the future.
This web-site sets out the reasons why Ecologicel Owlthorpe should be preserved as an upstream nature based solution thus protecting the environment.
National Tree Stratergy: https://parliamentlive.tv/
Press Release: April 2023
Press Release: May 2023
Please read our editorial in the Yorkshire Bylines. The hyper-links provide backup evidence, supporting Sheffield campaign calling for protection of upstream environments to stop downstreem flooding.
Friends of Ecological Owlthorpe Object to building on plot F
At a recent sheffield South East LAC Meeting Michael Meredith of Ecological Owlthorpe asked the Question: Is Domocracy Dead? Unelected civil servants in planning departments and the planning inspectorate are undermining decisions made by democratically elected Councillors and Members of Parliament, who speak on behalf of their constituents. For democracy to work Parliament needs to ACT and support decisions made on behalf of the electorate. Feedback from many councillor's support my statement. Why is this happening? I believe the answers can be found if you "Follow the money"
Evidence supplied to Planning Inspectorat supporting Ecological Owlthorpe as an upstream nature based solution protecting the environment from downstream flooding.
There are a number of organisations which can help with identification of flora and fauna that you may find in Ecological Owlthorpe.
Here are one or two web-sites you may find helpful.