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Locations in SK58: Anston Stones Wood
Updated: 25 February, 2019


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Anston Stones Wood (SK5283-5382)

How to get there

Access is from Anston Recreation Ground off Ryton Road, South Anston (also served by bus routes) to the northwest and from the A57 lay-by at the southeast (on the bus route from South Anston to Worksop). There are numerous footpaths round the wood and it can be used as a base to explore neighbouring areas including Lindrick Common and the Chesterfield Canal.

Owned by Anston Parish Council, this site is a Local Nature Reserve and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It contains the second best example of limestone woodland in South Yorkshire. The site is made up of ancient woodland in a natural magnesium limestone gorge. For botanists this is one of the finest fragments of woodland in northern England. It is also an excellent site for butterflies and most of the species which occur in Rotherham can be found here including Purple Hairstreak and Marbled White.

The wood is very popular and therefore suffers from a disturbance. However this is still a very good area for birds with around 105 species recorded including Pied Flycatcher which bred in a nest box in 1999. Past records include Grasshopper Warbler, Redstart, Wood Warbler (pre SK58 Birders), Hawfinch, Brambling and Long-eared Owl.

Common resident breeding birds include Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. While Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Jay and Goldcrest also breed in small numbers. The wood contains an active, noisy rookery. The site is very good for Great Spotted Woodpecker. Unfortunately Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is now absent, having previously occurred here. Grey Wagtail is present all year and may breed along the stream along with Mallard and Moorhen, while Kestrel also breeds in the area. The wood also contains a small population of Marsh Tit but these can prove hard to find. Willow Tit is also present so be careful to avoid confusion. Other specialist woodland species include Treecreeper and Nuthatch. Yellowhammer and Skylark occur in the surrounding fields. Sparrowhawk and Tawny Owl are also present. A pair of Barn Owl is an annual breeding bird in the specially erected nest boxes in the area

Spring/ Summer
The spring sees warblers return to the wood to breed including Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler. Also during the spring Green Woodpecker returns to the wood after being largely absent during the winter. Linnet also follows a similar pattern of occurrence to Green Woodpecker, being scarce in winter. Sadly there have been no reports of Cuckoo since 2001. The surrounding fields contain both Lesser and Common Whitethroat. The declining, if not extinct population of Spotted Flycatcher is reliant on sympathetic management of the woodland which is currently needed if this is to be a regular as it was in the early part of the 00's. Sedge Warbler does occasionally occur.

Common Buzzard is occasionally recorded roving from nearby breeding sites. Unfortunately the wood is too disturbed to support a pair. Along with the tit flocks, small flocks of Chaffinch are often present. Flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare are also found in winter especially in the surrounding fields and hedges along with Grey Partridge. The stream does occasionally produce Kingfisher. Siskin are sometimes present in winter.

Produced (with amendments) by kind permission of Rotherham & District Ornithological Society (RDOS).

A group focused on recording the bird life of a single 10km square between Sheffield, Rotherham & Worksop

content & design by Andy Hirst