Moss Valley Woodlands, managed and maintained by Sheffield Wildlife Trust, consists of a string of diverse ancient woods, each with its own distinctive makeup and character, set end to end down the steep-sided valley of the River Moss. This nature reserve is freely open to everyone and is particularly popular with visitors for its rich carpet of woodland wildflowers as well as its insects, invertebrates and abundant birdlife. The main walking route for visitors to the Woodlands was an informal path leading from the nearby housing estate through the centre of the reserve alongside the river. Unfortunately, water run-off from the surrounding fields, together with the damage caused by thousands of visitors’ feet and hooves had made many sections of the path impassable or washed them away altogether. Visitors were forced to leave the path to seek drier routes and were crashing off the path and into adjacent vulnerable woodland habitats, trampling, damaging and disturbing the very wild flowers and animals they had come to see.
Thanks to funding from Viridor Credits and Countryside Stewardship, Sheffield Wildlife Trust has been able to install proper drainage and surface along a kilometre of walking track, providing a good all-year-round surface. Not only has this work improved the accessibility of the nature reserve, it is also channelling visitor traffic and helping to prevent erosion of the precious wildflower and wildlife habitat.