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Urban Mersey Basin
Key nature conservation features of National Significance
Key nature conservation features of Local Significance
Natural Areas
 
Urban Mersey Basin
 
Habitat: Lowland wood pasture and parkland (of national significance)
 
This is the product of historic land management systems, and is a vegetation structure rather than a specific plant community. This structure consists of large trees (often pollards) at varying densities, in a mosaic of grazed grassland, heathland and/or woodland.

 
Dunham Park, Trafford, a site owned and managed by the National Trust, is an example of ancient wood-pasture of national importance. The majority of Dunham Park is pasture woodland or park woodland and has been managed as such since mediaeval times. The large number of very old oak and beech trees to be found here exceeds that on any other site in north-west England.

The management of pasture woodland is a compromise between the retention of tree cover and the provision of grazing for livestock. Grazing inhibits tree regeneration, but mature trees are little affected.

Apart from the large old trees, which include species other than those mentioned, there is a herd of fallow deer and a considerable expanse of unimproved grassland which is rich in invertebrates. The beetle fauna associated with dead wood is exceptionally rich with 181 species recorded, including 27 with no other known site in the region. The fly fauna has over 350 recorded species.
 
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