Local Nature Reserve
Grid Ref: SJ 944 235
Kingston Pool Covert (South) is 4.15ha of relatively undisturbed damp woodland on the eastern fringe of Stafford. The woodland has a fairly open canopy and is dominated by crack willow and alder, with scattered hazel and elder. There is a great deal of standing and fallen deadwood, which adds to the site's biodiversity potential. A number of ferns and fungi can be identified at the site, together with species such as lords-and-ladies and bluebell. There is some evidence of water vole burrows in the banks of the Kingston Brook, which runs through the centre of the woodland.
The socio-economic and ecological value of Kingston Pool Covert (South LNR)
In our current environment in the midst's of global climate change there is a need to attenuate floodwater and surface run off so as not to over burden the carrying capacity of the River systems. This is because of recent flooding that affects and often devastates areas downstream.
The brook that flows through Kingston pool covert is a tributary of the river Sow, that is located approximately 400 metres downstream of the site.
Kingston is the area that incorporates the Kingston Pool Covert LNR. The land area of the LNR is approx 40,000m2 the brook is approx 1000m2. The catchments area for rainfall drainage and seepage directly to the east and west of the LNR are approx 267,000m2.
This means that the brook of 1000m is responsible for the drainage of approximately 300,000 square meters of drainage water. In the 1950’s it was fondly known as the Withies to the locals and once held a lot more water in swampy areas and contained now rare plants like Marsh Fern and Cowbane. The Kingston Brook used to meander more naturally through the woodland before being constrained within an artificial channel.
This area is now a built environment of moderately new housing development to the west and very new to the east. All rainfall flowing off the hill to the west is channelled into the storm drains and gutters that line the LNR boundary.
The natural state would be for the LNR to intercept all the rainfall and nutrient run off before entering the brook. The channelling of the brook however has allowed the immediate rainfall onto the nature reserve to seep straight into the channel along with soil and nutrients.
A gradual lowering of the water table due to the canalising and deepening of the brook combined with the decreased level of runoff entering the woodland because of storm drains, has enabled the soil to be eroded through drying processes. Evidence of this can be seen where mature root systems are exposed by over 1m throughout the woodland.
As part of the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) declaration process a habitat management plan was developed, which describes how the wood will be managed over the next five years to protect and enhance its important wildlife value, and to promote it as a valuable area of community greenspace.
Various management tasks were identified, including:-
- Maintenance, restoration and creation of wetland features
- Ensure a natural regeneration of appropriate tree species within the woodland
- Manage the drainage ditches to maximise their wildlife value
- Encouraging a greater diversity of native wildflower species
- Wildlife surveys
- Control of invasive plant species
- Improved signage
- Access improvements
- To enhance the educational value of the site and increase the number of educational visitors.
Almost the entire West boundary has a dry ditch bank on the Birkdale Drive roadside end it is 4m high and <450 steep. Without the curbing and drainage grids that abut this end of the reserve the ditch would likely function as a water habitat (especially good for invertebrates) or a seasonal pool (good for amphibians).
If you would like any additional information about conservation work on Kingston Pool Covert (South) LNR, or other biodiversity initiatives, please contact us.