Eggerslack Wood and Hampsfield Allotment Forest Plan
Eggerslack Wood and Hampsfield Allotment are situated on Hampsfell, just to the north of Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. Hampsfield Allotment lies within the Lake District National Park. The woodlands were originally acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1959 and are both freeholds. The combined area amounts to 104 hectares.
Of the total area approximately 62.5ha is wooded and 41.6ha managed either as permanently open or open/scrub habitat under an agricultural grazing let. Woodland cover includes broadleaf plantation and a diverse range of locally native woodland types dominated by northern calcareous hazel-ash woodland present as high forest, neglected coppice and scrub. Also present are areas of small-leafed lime, juniper and yew. The percentage of non-native conifer species is very low following the removal of significant areas of corsican pine and larch during the previous plan period.
Most of the initial conifer planting took place during the late 1950’s consisting of Corsican pine and larch, mostly on Hampsfield Allotment. These conifer plantations were highly visible in the landscape and occupied semi-natural habitat of high conservation value. As a consequence these areas have not been replanted.
Hampsfield Allotment lies wholly within the Lake District National Park. Eggerslack Wood and Heaning Wood, to the west of Hampsfield Allotment, are Ancient Woodland Sites. Both Eggerslack and Hampsfield Allotment support important geological and biological features that are listed under the EC Habitats Directive and/or the Cumbria Biodiversity Action Plan.
Within Eggerslack and Hampsfield Allotment there are an extensive and varied series of semi-natural habitats. The sites compose a diverse and complex association of calcareous and acidic grassland, woodland, limestone scars, scree and pavements which support significant populations of nationally rare and uncommon plants and have a notable invertebrate fauna. The open pavements at the top of Hampsfield Allotment are rich in lime-loving plant species and the grikes are home to ferns and other plants which like rocky but sheltered environments. Surrounding the limestone pavement blocks are areas of limestone grassland characterised by blue-moor grass. This excellent habitat supports a wide variety of butterflies, notably High Brown, Pearl Bordered and Small Pearl Bordered fritillaries, Green Hairstreak and Northern Brown Argus which are found on the open limestone grassland and Dark Green fritillary, Comma and Speckled Wood butterflies which are present in the woodlands.
Eggerslack Wood and Hampsfield Allotment are popular venues for walkers and are often visited as part of more extended walks over Hampsfell. Eggerslack is well placed to offer short walks from Grange-over-Sands or from the small informal parking area on Hampsfell road. Several public footpaths pass through the woodland including part of The Pilgrim’s Way long distance walk. In addition there is a maze like network of other informal paths and tracks through the woodland.
Our aim is to create a more diverse and resilient woodland, with a greater range of species and habitats. The objectives of management here are:
•Some areas of Heaning Wood and Eggerslack Wood contain trees of reasonable quality. Active management may provide a source of sustainable income dependant on suitable, permanent access being arranged.
•Continue with grazing management on Hampsfield Allotment to safeguard and enhance the mosaic of calcareous grassland and native tree and shrub species.
•As opportunities arise remove small area of remaining larch in Eggerslack.
•Coppice approximately 2.5ha (in three defined areas) within Eggerslack. Aim to fell sycamore and beech and coppice a proportion of birch, hazel and ash seeking to create a more open mosaic of semi-natural habitat with linkage between fragments of existing open space.
•Monitor levels of scrub regeneration across Hampsfield Allotment and manage as appropriate.
•Continue to monitor butterfly species and abundance.
•Maintain the network of paths clear of obstructions and ensure that retention of any standing deadwood does not present a hazard to visitors. Ensure that public rights of way are clearly marked and fit for purpose.
What we'll do
The proposals in this plan continue to build on the success of previous plans to support the management of Hampsfield Allotment and Eggerslack Woods as sites for a range of nationally and locally important habitats and species. Exotic conifers and non-native broadleaves will continue to be removed opportunistically which could offer potential for local woodfuel markets and public access will be maintained and managed to provide both a resource for the local community and visitors to the wider area.
Timber production is not a major objective of the Forest Plan and therefore there is no analysis of future timber yield or productive capacity. The harvesting of timber, through either the removal of any remaining exotic conifer or non-native broadleaved species will be taken on an opportunistic basis.
For further information regarding species composition and the future management of Eggerslack and Hampsfield, please refer to the full plan below.