Revitalising Redesdale | Ecological Networks
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Ecological Networks

The River Rede, together with the River North Tyne is one of the only places in England which supports a significant population of fresh water pearl mussel, some of which are over a hundred years old. Current monitoring of fresh water pearl mussels indicates that the population is failing to breed and is in decline, with various theories of why this is happening. The river also supports populations of migratory Atlantic salmon and brown trout,essential to the early life (glochidial/larvae) stage of the fresh water pearl mussel. Kingfisher, dipper and heron can all be found along the river Rede. Otters,...

Mill and Whiskershiel Burn is a Site of Site of Special Scientific Interest near to Elsdon that is designated for calcareous mire flush and fen vegetation communities. Of particularly interest is the presence of blue moor-grass– an extremely rare plant in Northumberland, of which this is the county stronghold. While relatively small in area, the habitats found on the SSSI are important from a local, regional and national point of view. In recent years the condition of the habitats has deteriorated as surrounding trees have begun to encroach on the site and shade the grassland.  The project will see the...

Redesdale supports many habitats and species of local, national and international importance but good quality data on these is often missing. Many widespread species are often under-recorded and many areas of semi-natural habitat have not been properly classified and mapped. This problem affects the entire valley but is particularly obvious in land outside of the Northumberland National Park, where in the past there has been less impetus to collect environmental data. The lack of data for the area causes practical problems for conservation activity within Redesdale and presents a threat to the valley’s natural heritage. If the locations of key species...

Whitelee National Nature Reserves is one of Britain's most important upland nature reserves, of European conservation importance due to its active blanket bog and heather heaths. The blanket bog is home to a variety of plants including sphagnum moss, cloudberry, bog asphodel and cotton grass. On the lower slopes the heather moorland is home to birds such as red grouse, and birds of prey including merlin, buzzard, peregrine falcon and hen harrier. One of the moor's most striking insects is the day-flying northern eggar moth and butterflies such as ringlet, small heath and green-veined white are seen in summer. Skylark,...

Broadleaf woodland is primarily confined to the sides of the river Rede and its tributaries within incised cleughs, but there are also areas of ancient semi-natural woodland such as Tod Law Wood, near Rochester which contains oaks, birch and alder, remnants of the ancient Royal Hunting forest of Redesdale. A number of hedgerows also contain mature trees and are an important resource for pollinating insects. The River Rede Improvement study has identified a number of areas where there would be benefit in extending tree planting near the river to stabilise embankments, but there are also other areas where it would...

Over 150 potential meadows have been identified within Redesdale which have the potential to be significantly enhanced botanically to create species rich hay meadows, with iconic species such as wood cranesbill, hawkbit and greater burnet. Hay meadow management is also an important part of upland stock farm management to provide winter forage. This project aims to increase the floral diversity of hay meadows and the network for pollinators in Redesdale focusing on meadows, greenspaces within village hubs and along verges and lay-bys. There are number of meadows in Redesdale in stewardship schemes, but the farmers don’t have access to the relevant...

Much of the River Rede catchment flows from the blanket bogs on the high hills around the valley. These peatlands help regulate the flow of the river and provide a source of water through the year, even in times of drought. Damage to these peatlands through past practices including inappropriate grazing, drainage and burning has resulted in degraded areas of peat. These often drain more quickly than a pristine bog and the erosion complexes allow water to pick up brown colouration and particles of peat. Increased silt in the rivers results in poorer water quality making it less suitable for...