Silverdale Country Park

24 Mar 2021

Silverdale Country Park – Habitat Survey and Monitoring

Silverdale Country Park covers 83Ha and is located on the former Silverdale Colliery. Located  in a largely rural area characterised by open farmland it skirts the north-western fringe of Silverdale village and is located only 3km from the centre of Newcastle-under-lyme, with the city of Stoke-on-Trent lying immediately beyond. 

The Park represents a significant area of green space close to a large urban conurbation and is part of a notable cluster of former mining sites in the local area that have been restored for amenity use and wildlife value. Public access is largely unrestricted (with the exception of sensitive wildlife areas) and the Park has become important for recreation.

Following closure in 1988, the former colliery site was left largely abandoned until remediation work was carried out in phases. 

We were appointed to undertake a Phase 1 Habitat Survey of the Park in order to identify how the Park has developed in terms of the habitats and vegetation present particularly in response to management. The survey forms part of an on-going programme of habitat and species surveys to ensure management procedures are successful in delivering the desired wildlife benefits and to inform future management decisions concerning protected species in particular.

The survey involved comprehensive and detailed mapping and assessment of the habitats, with a range identified including important areas of Open Mosaic Habitat and ephemeral waterbodies, along with the presence of notable plant species that are rare or uncommon in the County. Results indicated that a much larger area of the Country Park is of county importance for nature conservation than the area currently designated. 

We prepared a detailed report that assessed changes in the vegetation that have taken place over time; set out threat and challenges including from invasive non-native species; identified priorities in relation to the vegetation and habitats; and presented alternative approaches to and ideas for management where current practices had shown to be ineffective.