Northumbrian Water owns more than 500 hectares of woodland around its reservoirs and operational sites ranging from conifer plantations to mixed and broadleaved woodlands.
We have a number of species rich areas of grassland which vary in size from less than half a hectare to more than four hectares but all of which require specific grassland management to maintain their interest. These sites include a calcareous flush (base rich) within Bakethin Nature Reserve where Exmoor Ponies graze over-winter, an area of magnesian limestone grassland at Horden which is grazed by highland cattle and un-improved meadows within the Scaling Dam Nature Reserve that are grazed over-winter by sheep. Use of this livestock is organised through a regional scheme known as ‘Flexi-graze.’
For some sites where it is not possible to use livestock we undertake a grass cutting regime which usually involves a late autumn cut (after flowers have set seed) and removal of arisings to maintain low nutrient levels and prevent build up of thatch. Some of these areas are on active operational sites where a balance is required to meet the needs of site staff for safe access and regulatory requirements such as those under the Reservoirs Act that require regular mowing to enable safety inspections.
Our main objectives in managing our woodlands are to:
1) Maintain a multi-use forestry resource which has economic, biodiversity and community benefits
2) Manage woodland to conserve or enhance biodiversity
3) Maintain a sustainable timber resource
4) Consider landscape issues and the future threat of climate change when managing the existing resource and planning new planting.
Download our Horden grazing project
Download our Bakethin grazing project
Download update on Burnhope woodland