Selected Wild Place / Other Wild Places / Public Rights of Way / VC55 boundary
Access is from Mill Lane in the centre of Witherley village.
Permissive access (Defra farm conservation scheme)
Total species seen at this site: 134
This large semi-improved grassland field borders the River Anker along the west and is the site of the former Witherley Mill. The remnant mill race bisects the centre of the site, providing a mainly marshy habitat with some areas of shallow standing water. A large pond lies to the north of the site. The field is used for grazing cattle and has a few scattered shrubs around the site, mainly Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and Holly Ilex ilicis. A few standard trees have been planted within fenced cages to prevent cattle access. The whole field is open access as part of a Stewardship agreement with DEFRA.
The grassland was a varied mixture of Perrenial Rye-grass Lolium perenne, Yorkshire Fog Holcus lanatus, Meadow Foxtail Alopecurus pratensis, Timothy Phleum pratense, Creeping Bent Agrostis stolonifera with some Crested Dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus. Wildflowers include White Clover Trifolium repens, Yarrow Achillea millefolium and Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens, with a few specimens of Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris.
The old mill race and pond add significantly to the biodiversity interest and support a good range of wetland plants, including Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria, Fool’s Water-cress Apium nodiflorum, Water Forget-me-not Myosotis scorpioides, Celery-leaved Buttercup Ranunculus sceleratus and Water Figwort Scrophularia auriculata.
The river edge adds further interest and supports species such as Reed Canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea, Common Club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris and Unbranched Bur-reed Sparganium emersum.
A good diversity of invertebrates are found here, particularly around the wetland areas. These include Azure Damselfy Coenagrion puella, Blue-tailed Damselfy Ischnura elegans, Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens, Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum, Green Leaf-hopper Cicadella viridis, Common Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus and Small Skipper Butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris.
The records and images below may include those from adjacent sites if the grid reference submitted with these records overlaps the boundary of this Wild Place.