National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey 2014: Pixton Park, near Dulverton, Somerset.
A habitat survey was undertaken at Pixton Park in September 2014. This involved mapping ofNational Vegetation Classification (NVC) plant communities (supported by collection of quadratdata), compiling habitat descriptions and species lists (with target notes), and mapping areasconsidered to be Habitats of Principal Importance as listed on the Natural Environment andRural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. The site supports a mixture of decidous woodland, conifer plantation, open parkland (some ofwhich is deer-grazed) and pasture, with smaller amounts of pond, scrub, wetland and brackenhabitat. Much of the site was provisionally mapped as the Wood-Pasture and Parkland Habitat ofPrincipal Importance, based on the presence of open-grown-form veteran trees, including thosenow surrounded by dense younger woodland. However veteran trees were not mapped in detail, but are to be the subject of a dedicated survey in 2015, and this should be used to refine theboundaries, and check the classification, of this key habitat. The woodlands on site were divided into 'ash woodland' (W8 in the NVC), 'oak woodland' (W10)or 'beech woodland' (W12 and W14). The woodland canopy has sometimes been modified, withnew plantings, particularly of Turkey oak. Much of the woodland was mapped as either Mixed Deciduous Woodland or Lowland Beechand Yew Woodland Habitats of Principal Importance. However, because the latter is probablyderived from historic beech planting, it may not meet the criteria for priority habitat. A total of 17 Ancient Woodland Indicator species were recorded, suggesting a long-history ofwoodland (or wood-pasture) on the site. The grassland on site was largely semi-improved and species-poor, although with veryoccasional pockets where a number of species more indicative of semi-natural grasslandoccurred, or where bracken was abundant. The main grassland interest lay in the north of thesite, in pasture classified as MG5 (Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra grassland) in the NVC, and in ungrazed grassland where MG5 grassland is transitional to a more rank MG1(Arrhenatherum elatius) community. However the grassland did not contain a sufficient rangeof positive wildflower indicator species to be considered to be in favourable condition. A map of National Vegetation Classification (NVC) communities may be found in Appendix 1a, and a map of Habitats of Principal Importance may be found in Appendix 1b.