Hospital Plantation

Overview

Hospital Plantation Character Area (view detailed map) is an extensive area of semi-natural oak-birch woodland on the western boundary of the City. It includes areas of remnant heath land, planted pines, broad-leaved plantations, two ponds and several damper areas. It is made up of two sites, Hospital Plantation and Birchwood Nature Park.

Up until the Early Industrial period [1750-1845 AD] this area was probably open heath land and typical heath species like bell heather and purple moor grass can still be found in several areas. On the eastern side of the bypass there is a particularly good example of heath land habitat and this is one of only two sites in the City where it is known to occur.

The land was probably enclosed during the Early Industrial period. Later woodland planting of the 19th/20th century occurred within field units, and as a result many of the edges of the Character Area correspond to the lines of field boundaries associated with the enclosure of the land in the Early Industrial period. Hospital Plantation would have been one of a number of plantations that existed in the surrounding area.
 
The creation of large woodland plantations appears to have occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries, partly in response to poor profitability of agricultural land across the UK during this period due in part to the increasing globalisation of food markets. The earliest plantation, Hospital Plantation, occurred in the centre of the Character Area, however Cross Holts in the north of the area may be earlier, as ‘holt’ derives from an old English word for woodland. Skellingthorpe Moor plantation, either side of the A46 in the northwest of the area, was mostly laid out between 1930 and 1950.
 
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Pond in Birchwood Nature Park surrounded by trees and greenery.

Key Statistics

Latitude/Longitude: (53.21712, -0.61607)
Character Area Type: Woodland
Location: City fringe
Predominant Period: Early Industrial (1750 to 1845 AD)
Secondary Period: Inter-war (1920 to 1945 AD)
Average Building Type: N/A
Average Building Density: Very Low