Sherfield English SANG

Management of the site

The grasslands are to be cut annually for hay crop, however, this has many benefits for the site. Cutting and collecting grass can have a hugely positive impact on grassland habitats, encouraging native wildflowers to grow and keeping down more hardy grasses and plants that would otherwise outcompete the flowers. Removing the grass cuttings also reduces the soil nutrients which favours our wildflowers. Our grasslands and the native wildflowers they include are of high importance to our insect populations. Mill Lane holds an estimated total of 433 invertebrate species, 20 of which carry a conservation status as well as a wide variety of flora over the whole site, including Yellow Loosestrife, Marsh Pennywort and Water Mint.

The site is also bordered by some large veteran oaks estimated to be over 250 years old. These trees are home to many different species of insects and are therefore a hugely valuable part of the site. The management of the site will aim to benefit these veterans and aim to keep them healthy so they’re there for another hundred years to be enjoyed by generations to come.  

The wet woodland also has the potential to be perfect habitats for bats, containing many suitable roosting areas as well as a plentiful food supply. The management of the woodland will take these habitat features into consideration and conducted in such a way that it is beneficial for the site and the wildlife that inhabit it.

Harvest mouse nests have recently been identified at the site. Harvest mice are small mammals that create nests from woven leaves in tall, sturdy vegetation such as grass tussocks and rushes (Mammal Society, 2023). Future management will aim to conserve harvest mouse habitat on the site. More information can be found here: Species – Harvest Mouse – The Mammal Society