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Limb Valley Study Group

Acting Organiser: Harold Smith, 16 Silverdale Close, Sheffield S11 9JN
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History - The group was started in 1978 to survey the wildlife in the Valley of the Limb Brook with the object of monitoring the long term changes in the flora and fauna. The Valley is located close to suburban Sheffield and extends from Ringinglow at SK290837 to Whirlow Bridge on the A 625 Sheffield to Hathersage Road at SK311827. Woodland predominates but there are several other distinctive habitats. A description of the area is to be found in Sorby Record for 1978. It is one of the best recorded sites on the Sorby database. Sheffield City Council are responsible for its present management.

Survey results from the Valley have been published in Sorby Record, mainly in the decade following the initiation of the Group. The results of monitoring the small mammals in the years 1982 to 1985 were reported in Sorby Record for 1984 and 1986. Mapping of bird territories throughout the survey area was undertaken by a team of observers for several years. The long term monitoring of the birds in the main woodland has been the responsibility of the bird Recorder for 28 years but the project has now lapsed. The results to 1993 are presented in Sorby Record for 1995.

A Nature Trail booklet published in 1995 is largely based on the information from these surveys and describes signed features throughout the length of the Valley.

Sorby has produced many publications containing contributions on the wildlife of the Valley as well as some unpublished surveys. View a bibliography of these articles.

A Field Study Centre (a former mobile laboratory) to assist anyone collecting or recording material as part of their field studies is located to the rear of the car park behind Whirlow Brook House. It also serves as a focal point for field meetings.

The future of the Group - It would be unfortunate if the momentum of earlier years was to lapse. There is a great potential for collective and individual studies in the Valley. The woodland is ageing and trees are falling naturally or are being felled for reason of health and safety thus creating gaps in the canopy which will effect the flora and the invertebrate fauna. What is known about the regeneration of trees in different parts of the woodland? Time is also bringing about changes to the heathland and grassland habitats in the Valley. The long term monitoring of habitats is essential to understand the effect of environmental influences on wildlife and to provide information for its conservation. There are relatively few well documented long term studies but they are recognised nationally. The Sorby has an opportunity to join this select band.

If you can possibly help by suggesting a topic for investigation, or running your own project or better organising a joint project, please contact the relevant Recorder or the acting Organiser. Experience need not be a limitation providing you can recognise the object of your studies.