The Village Area Wildlife - did you know that we live on some of the most protected land in Britain!
Ellerton & Aughton are two beautiful villages set on the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve, just south east of York, with acres of farmland, canals and rivers and close to the Ings. ("Ings" is an old Yorkshire word for water meadows & marshes.)
Our land is so protected because we are one of only 3 sites left in Britain where our fields and landscape still look like they would have over 1000 years ago. This is because we still use the 4 month "flood, flower & beast" method. The Derwent Ings flood in the winter months, after which the farmers allow the land to become meadow. Animals are then grazed on the land, as has happened since before the Domesday book.
There is an abundance of different grassland, making this an area of Special Scientific Interest & a special protection area. Red sweetgrass, reed canary grass & slender tufted sedge can all be seen here in the wettest part. The grasslands are important as a breeding habitat for a wide range of wetland birds. In recent years many different species of wildfowl have used this area as a breeding ground. 10% of the shoveler UK population are supported here (100 pairs). Other species include shelduck, garganey, wigeon, mallard, teal, gadwall, pintail, pochard, tufted duck & even goosander.
Breeding waders include curlew, lapwing, snipe & redshank, as well as oystercatcher, common sandpiper & little ringed plover.
ELLERTON FLOOD JANUARY 2012
ELLERTON FLOOD NOVEMBER 2012