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Mude Valley

An urban wildlife corridor made up of Mudeford and Peregrine Woods and designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).

Site Description

The Mude Valley is a 17.5 hectare site that is situated to the east of the borough, following the course of the river Mude from Somerford to the north and Mudeford to the south. The area comprises of a variety of natural habitats from woodland and grassland to the river and associated wetlands. It also includes amenity areas and is surrounded by extensive urban development. The site was granted SNCI status in January 2000.

Historical Information

The first recorded use of this site is thought to have been by monks who were then based at the site of the former Somerford Grange. It is suggested that a pond on the site was used for the farming of carp. More recently the site formed part of the Christchurch Airfield, which was built on surrounding agricultural land and linked to the adjacent De Havilland aircraft factory. The airfield was in use until the early 1960's and following its departure, housing began to built on the site. The current boundaries have remained un-altered since the mid 1980s.

Environmental Information

The diversity of habitats within a relatively small area has resulted in a rich variety of plant communities. Over 315 separate species have been recorded since 1990. Species of particular local interest include Bearded Couch, Short Fruited Willowherb, Intermediate Polypody (listed as uncommon in the area) and Cyperus Sedge (listed as rare to the area). Two nationally scarce species, Clustered Clover and Suffocated Clover, are also present.

The presence of a range of water features benefits a number of groups, particularly invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies. The attractive Banded Demoiselle can often been seen around the banks of the river in early summer. Butterflies are also well represented with 19 species, including the relatively uncommon White Letter Hairstreak.

Over 47 species of birds have been recorded for the site, including Song Thrush and Bullfinch, both classified on the red list as birds of conservation concern. The river itself contains a rich variety of aquatic invertebrates and supports fish species such as Stone Loach, Bullhead, Eel and Trout. The angling pond is fished by Mudeford Wood Angling Club (day tickets available) and contains a wide selection of coarse fish, including Perch, Bream and Common Carp.

Other Information

The whole area is a designated Public Open Space therefore giving unrestricted public access. The proximity of large housing estates, presence of a community centre and the use of the site as a cut through increase public pressure on the site.
lve any concerns or problems. The latter consists of representatives of users group and the council. Nea Meadows is recognised for good management and has recently received a "best environmental initiative" award in the regional heat of the Britain in Bloom competition.