South Agnew Plantation
This area is situated in the northern area of Aycliffe, just south of Woodham Village. Its mapping grid reference is NZ2760 2650.
South Agnew Plantation is owned and managed by Great Aycliffe Town Council; however, the bridle way which runs through the site is owned and maintained by Durham County Council. Sedgefield Borough also owns a small amount of land which directly borders the houses.
This mature broadleaf woodland with a substantial understory covers approximately 25 hectares acts as a wildlife corridor between Woodham Burn, North Agnew Plantation and the open countryside to the north of the town. It is bordered on three sides by residential developments and has several routes and Public Rights of Way that pass through the woodland including part of the Great Aycliffe Way. However, the woodland maintains a unique wilderness feeling considering its location.
Litter and fly tipping is an ongoing issue on the site, Great Aycliffe Town Council do litter picks on the main routes through the site on a regular basis and respond quickly to reports of fly tipping. The site is also cleared on an annual basis when the vegetation has died back over the winter months.
Trees that are dangerous are removed on an urgent basis. Occasionally standing dead wood is retained if the tree poses no threat to safety, this is to favour wildlife including many species of insects, birds such as woodpeckers and bats which regularly roost in holes and cracks in dead wood.
Trees will be thinned when required on an annual basis, this is to maintain a strong and multi aged woodland that provides an optimum habitat for wildlife.
Cutting back of vegetation occurs on a regular basis over the summer to maintain open routes on the main pathways. Occasionally during winter more substantial cutting back from existing paths occurs including creating open areas called glades that provide habitat for many species of insect and butterfly.
A bridleway runs through this site from Woodham Way at the north west end to the Green area around Egerton Grove in the south, providing a pleasant route through the heart of this woodland.
The surface is suitable for a wheelchair, flat and fairly even throughout the route.
Limited parking is available at Callerton Rise, however please park with the consideration of local residents in mind.
Great Aycliffe Town Council is unable to survey the site as often as they would like, if you see something that you feel the managers of the site should be aware of, then please contact the Environment Officer on (01325) 300700.