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Middleton Woods Local Nature Reserve

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Middleton Woods is located in south Leeds, between the M621 and Dewsbury Road. It is the largest remaining ancient woodland site in West Yorkshire and is of special importance for nature conservation in Leeds. However, beside the wealth of wildlife to be found in the reserve, there are also many historical and archaeological features, including bell pits, from early coal mining and the former routes taken by trams.

Although oak dominates the woodland, a variety of other species including birch, hazel, elder, sycamore, beech and sweet chestnut can be found. However, it is not just living trees that are important - old, dying and dead trees, rotting, fallen timber and decomposing leaves all provide food and shelter for a wealth of invertebrates, particularly woodlice, spiders, millipedes and beetles. These in turn are eaten by mammals and birds including bats, mice and voles and woodpeckers and treecreepers.

Early spring, just before the leaves come on the trees, is a wonderful time to enjoy the woodland, as wildflowers are at their most abundant and bluebells, wood anemone, wood sorrel and lesser celandine carpet the floor. In addition, the woodland edge, open glades and rides and path edges are also important for plants, as well as butterflies, which can be seen flying in these sunny spots during the summer months.

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