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Briarwood Banks

Briarwood Banks is one of the best examples of rare, semi-natural woodland in Northumberland. Ash dominates, although oak and birch are common. Typical ancient woodland plants include ramsons, woodruff and dogs mercury. The woods around here provide the most northerly habitat for dormice and you may also see red squirrels and roe deer. Birds such as pied flycatcher and great spotted woodpecker can also be seen.

Semi-natural ancient woodland is a relatively rarity in Northumberland; this reserve is probably one of the best examples in the county. The woodland supports a diversity of plant species which reflect the variation in soil conditions. There are a number of locally uncommon species including two regional rarities: bird's-nest orchid and wood fescue. Other uncommon plants such as herb Paris and toothwort are present along with a very good bryophyte flora and several rare, ancient woodland indicator lichens. An area of the woodland planted with non-native species is being restored to provide suitable conditions for a range of rare species including dormouse which is found in neighbouring woodland, their most northerly location in the UK. Near the River Allen are the remains of an old lead smelt mill. The grasslands have been contaminated by heavy metals derived from the Pennine orefield upstream. Plants indicative of this contamination include mountain pansy and alpine penny-cress.



Species and habitats

Bird's-nest Orchid, Hazel dormouse

Nearby nature reserves

Beltingham River Gravels
1 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Tony's Patch
3 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust
East Crindledykes Quarry
3 miles - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

5km south-east of Bardon Mill at Plankey Mill
Plankey Mill
Map reference
NY 791 620
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Opening Times
21.20 hectares

Please see downloadable Access Information for the reserve below.
Walking information
Walk up to the site through Allenbanks. Keep to the paths to avoid trampling the woodland flora
Park at the National Trust Allenbanks car park (charge applies)
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Northumberland Wildlife Trust
Tel: (0191) 284 6884


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