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Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)


Site Name: Crich Chase County: Derbyshire

Status: notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as substituted by Schedule 9 to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Local Planning Authority: Amber Valley Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council

National Grid reference: SK 347528 Area:118.2 ha

Ordnance Survey Sheet: 1:50,000: 119 1:10,000: SK 35 SW

Notification Date: 15 August 2013


Crich Chase - an SSSI



Reasons for notification


Crich Chase supports a diverse mosaic of semi-natural habitats, including woodland, scrub and unimproved neutral and acid grasslands. It is of special interest by reason of the following nationally important features that occur within the wider habitat mosaic: woodland dominated by the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) types W10 pedunculate oak Quercus robur – bracken Pteridium aquilinum – bramble Rubus fruticosus woodland, W7 alder Alnus glutinosa – ash Fraxinus excelsior – yellow pimpernel Lysimachia nemorum woodland and W16 oak Quercus spp. – birch Betula spp. – wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa woodland, much of which is ancient semi-natural woodland; species-rich neutral and acid grasslands of the NVC types MG5 crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus – common knapweed Centaurea nigra grassland and U4 sheep’s-fescue Festuca ovina – common bent Agrostis capillaris – heath bedstraw Galium saxatile grassland; and a rich assemblage of grassland fungi, in particular its waxcaps (Hygrocybe), fairy clubs (Clavariaceae) and pinkgills (Entoloma).

The majority of the site supports an extensive area of ancient semi-natural woodland forming one of the largest and most structurally diverse semi-natural woodlands remaining in the Derwent valley of Derbyshire and of interest being on the upland fringes of the Peak District. There is evidence of a long history of woodland cover on the site, with the Chase noted as forming a north-eastern outlier of the medieval hunting forest of Duffield Frith.

The woodland is structurally diverse and variable in tree cover, and comprises a mix of both dry and wet woodland types. It is generally characterised by pedunculate oak Quercus robur, silver birch Betula pendula and locally sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus on the upper slopes, with alder Alnus glutinosa, ash Fraxinus excelsior, downy birch Betula pubescens, and willow Salix spp. forming small distinct stands over flushed ground around streams and springs. Scattered through the woodland is a generation of aged, over-mature or ‘veteran’ trees that display signs of past coppicing or pollarding and which largely comprise pedunculate oak, birch, alder and sweet chestnut Castanea sativa.

Crich Chase was declared a site of Special Scientific Interest in 2013 owing to the diversity of its flora and fauna.

Despite this there seems to no attempt by the authorities to protect it from the damage caused by thoughtless actions. In particular mountain bikers and walkers can cause havoc unless they adhere to the footpaths. One must ask – “what is point of declaring an area as of Special Scientific Interest unless steps are taken to try and protect it?”