As you can see from the sketch below, our new land acts as a key link between our reserves at Coldwell Parrock and Coldwell Meadow. In addition, it will act as a further bridging reserve, providing greater connectivity between Gait Barrows to the south east and the land owned by the RSPB to the north and west.
Linking for Nature
Coldwell Meadow has been improving as a wildlife habitat, as has Coldwell Parrock, but they have remained apart. As far as many types of flora and fauna are concerned they could have been 100 miles apart, not just 100 yards.
What is the point in encouraging ground nesting birds onto our land and making sure the grass is not cut until it is safe to do so, when just over the wall a field which looks just as suitable in the spring may be cut far too early? The acquisition of the new fields has enabled us to link all three areas together. We often think that birds, butterflies and moths can fly from one place to another with no problem but many of them are surprisingly unwilling to leave their home patch.
Some moths, such as the Pale Brindled Beauty, have wingless females that cannot fly. We still don’t know how they manage to spread but for the females of winter-breeding moths such as this to have lost their ability to fly, it is probably safe to assume that they evolved at a time when their larval food plants were to be found in abundance, in close proximity to each other and over large areas, making it unnecessary for the females to travel any distance to find food plants upon which to lay their eggs. To ensure that woodland and hedge-row species like this can continue to thrive in today’s landscape, it is essential that we continue to provide hedgerow pathways of mixed tree species between what have become isolated areas of woodland.
Linking for People
It has also meant that Coldwell Meadow has become a much better place for people. Once the new permissive pathways are constructed it will be possible to cross the road from Gait Barrows, walk through the meadow and down through the new fields and along the edge of the RSPB woodland to Creep-i’-th’-Call Bridge and down the permissive bridleway there to Silverdale Moss.
Linking for Conservation
It has also meant that there is a link between the grasslands of the RSPB at Silverdale Moss and the Gait Barrows reserve with its grass edged pathways, limestone pavements and glades and the fields round Hawes Water. In addition when the new grassland in Back Wood down to Creep-i’-th’-Call Bridge is opened up by the RSPB there will be a link under the bridge and all the way north through fields to Teddy Heights and east to Brackenthwaite Farm.
We will be working with Natural England and the RSPB to make sure that together we can do a better job for nature.