The term 'brownfield' site is used for habitat types where current, or recent, human activity has had a profound effect on the environment and has distorted what one normally expect to find. Usually 'brownfield' sites have no legal protection what so ever but that is not always the case.
In the Nature of Dorset I am primarily concerned with nature reserves and wildlife hot-spots and brownfield sites are not what you might expect in this regard. However, when you take a look at the habitat types that comprise this group, the need to include them is more apparent:
- Amenity Grassland: Nature reserves in built up areas quite often have a grassy play area or 'cared for' piece of grassland associated with them
- Arable Farmland: Not in itself a habitat likely to be on a nature reserve but some reserves have to be accessed across such land and so I have included what may be seen on the route across the farmland to the reserve itself
- Buildings, bridges and walls: Many reserves do have buildings, bridges and walls and these can have vegetation not encountered elsewhere on the reserve
- Fringes - roadsides, bare ground and waste ground: One is likely to encounter 'fringe' habitat almost anywhere, including nature reserves. Indeed, at Durlston Country Park some of the rarest flowers are found in the car park!
- Orchard: Some community orchards are nature reserves in their own right despite technically being 'brownfield'
- Parks, arboretum and gardens: Despite being highly managed habitats some natural species of fungi, plants and insects can be encountered. Some of these places are more wildlife friendly than others!
- Quarries and mineral extraction: Whilst of little interest when work is under way, once redundant, quarries and gravel pits can become important nature reserves when nature starts to recolonise them
- Redundant Railways: Some of the abandoned railways and clay tramways of Dorset have been made into footpaths and cycleways and can have a significant flora and fauna all of their own
Abandoned quarry, gravel pits and railways do make for valuable habitats in their own right and many reserves are enhanced by the presence to some degree by the presence of brownfield habitat types.
These are some of the habitat types that occur within this general classification. Click/tap any thumbnail for more detail about a specific habitat type.