Blue Slate Wood
The Blue Slate Wood comprises a permanent and diverse native broadleaf planting scheme in the picturesque hills of Lancashire. This is a small, yet perfectly formed project.
The project was undertaken in partnership with the River Ribble Trust. The Trust undertakes exceptional projects to improve water quality by reducing agricultural run-off, industrial pollution and undertaking river clean-up activities. The new woodland will create a buffer to agricultural run-off whilst enhancing the landscape and providing habitat for wildlife.
From a landscape conservation perspective, the project complements the nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park, Forest of Bowland AONB, Nidderdale AONB and a large Site of Special Scientific Interest at the Ribble Estuary.
The greater landscape is home to a variety of mammals including the red deer, fallow deer, otter, badger, red fox, red squirrel, pine marten, brown hare and dormouse. The immediate marine environs are home to the bottlenose dolphin, grey seal and occasional whales. The overall landscape is home to a diversity of bird species including, of particular interest: the curlew, golden plover, ring ouzel, lapwing, peregrine, hen harrier, merlin, lapwing, red grouse, redshank, snipe and stonechat. As golden eagles have been reintroduced into the Lake District, there is potential for them to spread southwards to Lancashire over the coming years.
The new woodland complements and expands established ancient woods in the immediate vicinity: Kiln Wood and Sharples Wood. Kiln Wood comprises a canopy of ash, sycamore, alder and elm with rowan and wild cherry. Holly, hazel, hawthorn and ivy make up the understorey. The herb layer is diverse and holds typical woodland species such as: wood anemone, wood sage, wood sorrel, dog’s mercury, lesser celandine, red campion, ramsons, bluebell, Lord’s-and-Ladies, great woodrush, moschatel, wood avens and the ferns hard shield-fern, broad buckler-fern and hart’s-tongue.
Tree and shrub species in Sharples Wood are similar to those in Kiln Wood. The field layer also shares similar species. The ground flora includes male fern, herb-Robert, Lord’s-and-Lady’s, ramsons, three-nerved sandwort, wood dock, wavy bitter-cress, meadow saxifrage, wood anemone, opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage, foxglove and giant bellflower. Both ancient woodlands are home to a carpet of bluebells during early spring.
The riverbanks, field margins and banks, especially the southern bank opposite Sharples Wood, hold good populations of wild daffodil, a plant listed in the Provisional Lancashire Red Data List of Vascular Plants.
The new woodland is located adjacent to Hole Brook and the River Darwen. The River Darwen is home to a variety of fish including roach, chub, dace, brown trout and occasional rainbow trout. It in turn feeds the River Ribble. The Ribble passes the RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh Nature Reserve and then empties into the Ribble and Alt Estuary and the Irish Sea.
The Ribble is one of the longest and most diverse rivers in the UK, reaching 75 miles from the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the sea near Lytham. The Ribble has one of the largest tide differentials in the UK. The tide runs at five miles per hour and rises eight meters whilst reaching eleven miles inland.
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At a Glance: Blue Slate Wood
Spectacular hills of Lancashire
Between Preston and Blackburn
Mixed native broadleaves
Complementing and expanding existing ancient woodland
Location adjacent to the River Darwen
Rare species such as the pine marten, river otter, water vole and rainbow trout
Sustainable Development Goals
Life on Land
Life Below Water
Clean Water and Sanitation
Partnerships for the Goals
Recognised Offsetting Framework
Woodland Carbon Code
Planting completed spring 2022
Project to be validated autumn 2023
Recognised Offset Standards
Pending Issuance Units becoming Woodland Carbon Units