Papers – Volume 3

Volume 3

Edited by Clifton Bain and Brian Eversham. Published 1992. Pp.(two)1- [87]; 16 tables and 12 figures. Price £1.50 + p&p £1.25

A Habitat Classification and Recording Framework for Thorne and Hatfield Moors – Brian C. Eversham and Glen Swindlehurst

The recording of plants and animals on Thorne and Hatfield Moors stretches back over two centuries, and its results have been thoroughly collated, published and interpreted in recent years (Limbert, 1985, 1986; Marchall et al 1989; Heaver & Eversham, 1991 and references therein). The quantity of information, and the richness of the recorded biota, place Thorne Moors on a par with the very best-known natural habitats in Britain. However, almost all of available information to the end of the 1980’s was poorly localised, or even confined to general lists for “Thorne Moors” as a single unit, and no attempt made to standardise recording methods or observer-effect between different parts of the Moors.
It was this lack of precise information about particular parts of the moors, especially for the invertebrates, which prompted the various surveys organised by the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum in 1990-91

Ornithological Survey of Thorne and Hatfield Moors 1990 – Clifton G. Bain

This study, organised by the RSPB on behalf of the THMCF, aimed to identify the breeding and wintering species occuring on the Moors and their distribution in relation to different habitat types. Between April 1990 and February 1991 a team of 9 ornithologists surveyed Thorne Moors under the guidance of the English Nature warden there. Hatfield Moor was studied to a lesser degree using a single ornithologist. The study area encompassed all vegetated areas on both moors and avoided relatively bare peat areas, stripped as part of peat extraction operations occurring on the Moors. Standard mapping techniques were used to identify breeding terretories over the majority of the study area; point count methods were adopted in densely wooded areas. Winter bird numbers were estimated by recording numbers of each species seen per visit to study compartments.

The Importance of the Invertebrate Fauna of Thorne and Hatfield Moors: an exercise in site evaluation – Stuart G. Ball

Lowland peatlands provide an extremely important habitat for wetland invertebrates and support a rich assemblage of specialised species which are not found in any other habitat. A large proportion of such sites in Great Britain have been wholly or partly destrpyed and many of the species restricted to this habitat are now considered to be scarce or threatened. Thorne and Hatfield Moors are the largest remaining areas of lowland peat in England and have been long valued by naturalists for their assemblage of scarce peatland invertebrates. Both sites have a long history of entomological recording, which is summarised for Thorne Moors by Skidmore et al. (1987)

Balaam’s Donkey and the Hairy Canary: Personal Reflections on the Changing Invertebrates of Thorne and Hatfield Moors – Peter Skidmore

As a schoolboy shortly after the war, I joined the ranks of the Manchester Entomological Society and first learnt of the paramount entomological importance of lowland mosses (or peat bogs). Once, these had surrounded Manchester, classic sites such as Chat Moss, Ashton Moss and Carrington Moss. A few ancients in the society remembered these places before 1900 and would speak of long dead friends who had put Manchester on the entomological map with the discovery of the Manchester ringlet, Manchester Teble Bar, Manchester moth and Manchester beetle on these mosses. These priceless sites and their insect inhabitants had long since been destroyed and now the net had literally to be cast further afield. The classic Cheshire mosses like Abbots Moss, and Lindow Moss had been reduced to wrecks. Members now ventured as far as Whixall Moss in shropshire or Holker in the southern Lake District; but the real jewels, spoken of in the most hallowed of terms, were Thorne and Hatfield Moors – a world away across the Pennines. Those who had visited them had been to Mecca.

Thorne Moors Conservation and Water Management – Roger Meade

The surface of a cutover peatland bears little textural or topographical similarity to an undamaged raised mire. Its water relationships cannot be assumed to be similar, and the aim of management is likely to involve the maintenance of suitably wet conditions in large or small depressions. Retaining water in upstanding peatland remnants, surrounded by active extraction, may be achieved by incorporating undrained bufferland, or by creating impermeable structures, from black peat or impermeable mebranes. The idea of recharge using a pump is rejected.
Providing solutions for isolated remnants individually is not favoured. Rather that they should be incorporated into a whole site rehabilitation, where wetness can be achieved through drainage from higher land.

Records of Black Grouse on the Yorkshire – Lincolnshire Border – Martin Limbert

Although once relatively widespread in England, the Black Grouse is now virtually exterminated in all but the wilder northern parts. The only exception is a well-documented Peak District outlier, which extended into south-weat Yorkshire until the mid-1970s. Elsewhere in Yorkshire, reflecting the national picture, Black Grouse are associated with the elevated north and north-west. However the county once had indigenous low-level populations, in the Thorne region, though in their last decades they were reinforced byor replaced by released stock of unknown provenance. Other lowland occurrences in Yorkshire have been ascribed to the effects of artificial introduction.