Barnsley Biodiversity Trust: Barnsley Biodiversity Action Plan. Last Updated April 2018

Mixed deciduous woodland is the natural woodland cover for most of Barnsley, mainly mixed Oakwoods with some stands of Ash and Alder. Carpets of spring flowers in the ancient broad-leaved woodlands are a breath-taking sight.

Local Priority Habitat details

Mixed deciduous woodland is a local priority habitat because of its national status, the plants, animals and birds it supports, and the opportunity for its conservation in Barnsley.


It is a national priority habitat: Lowland mixed deciduous wood-land. UK BAP priority habitats


Phase 1 habitat surveys class this priority habitat as broadleaf woodland.


There are four main National Vegetation Classification (NVC) categories for this priority habitat in Barnsley:

W10 Oak-bracken-bramble on shale soils.

W16 Oak-birch-wavy hair grass on sandstone soils, and
W17 Oak-birch-bilberry in more open areas

W7 Alder-ash-flush on poorly-drained soils.


The best examples of this local priority habitat are

The richest display of Bluebell and other spring flowers, with Bracken and Bramble later, is found in mixed Oakwoods on the soils of slopes and valleys.


Oakwoods on steeper slopes or hill tops are less rich in spring flowers. Here is Wavy Hair Grass and Bracken, with Bilberry and Heather in more open areas.


The colourful spring displays include an abundance of Bluebell, Wood Sorrel, Greater Stitchwort and Honeysuckle as well as more occasional species like Yellow Archangel.


In damper areas Wood Anemone, Ransom, Lesser Celandine and Dog’s Mercury are more abundant; species like Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage are found.


Pedunculate Oak and Silver Birch are the most common tree. Hazel is the most abundant understorey shrub, together with Hawthorn, Holly and Elder.


Ash and Alder occur on less well-drained soils near springs, flushes or streams or other damper sites.


Sessile Oak and Downy Birch become more common in the wetter and colder conditions towards the west with Holly and Rowan in the understorey.


Beech and Sweet Chestnut have been widely planted in all these woodlands and some non-native conifers. Sycamore is often found.


Woodland shelters a range of birds feeding on the flies and other invertebrates they find there as well as seeds and nuts during winter. Bats and other mammals like badger forage there and woodland supports distinctive butterflies and moths.

Most plants in broadleaf woodland burst into life early and flower during the spring, giving a brief burst of intense colour before the trees come into leaf and the ground is shaded.


Shade-tolerant species like Bracken and Bramble follow later.

Please use these links for more information on deciduous woodland