|IPA Factsheet - Peterborough Brick Pits|
Site Description Peterborough Brick Pits IPA is composed of a sequence pits dug for brick-clay. Extraction has ceased and many pits have filled with water and now support communities of aquatic plants. The area is identified as being internationally important for stoneworts, with one of the richest florae in the UK. The area also has geological importance as being a fine example of deposits laid down during the Ipswichian Interglacial period. It is the combination of these deposits with more recent overlying marine sediments that defines the zoom of opportunity which surrounds the suite of score sites; any new pit dug in this area is likely to acquire a stonewort flora of interest. Peterborough Brick Pits IPA is composed of a sequence pits dug for brick-clay. Extraction has ceased and many pits have filled with water and now support communities of aquatic plants. The topography is varied and pits vary in size and shape, providing a myriad of differing opportunities for wildlife – including great crested newts for which one of the core sites is notified. The area is identified as being internationally important for stoneworts, with one of the richest florae in the UK. Most notable among the core sites is Orton Pit SSSI which is comprised of a sequence of ridges and water-filled furrows; the site provides a unique insight into succession processes, as the furrows and ridges were created inan annual sequence. As a result of the underlying clay, the water in the pools is slightly saline, supporting species that are usually found at the coast and in Scottish lochs. The spoil heaps surrounding the pits and ponds also provide a variety of habitats; bare earth habitats here are particularly important for invertebrates such as wasps bees ants and beetles.
Botanical Significance Noted for stonewort interest. The IPA is noted for its stonewort species, including Chara aculeolata, C. aspera, C. contraria, C. curta, C. globularis, C. hispida, C. virgata, C. vulgaris, Nitella flexilis agg., Tolypella glomerata and the Endangered C. canescens. The waters also support classic relict fen species such Potamogeton coloratus. The site supports a wide range of other habitats such as mesotrophic grassland, scrub, bare earth and woodland.
General Habitat Description
Conservation Issues Maintenance of open sites against successional fiorces Most of IPA under commercial ownership or agricultural Maintenance of early successional conditions in water bodies and margins Establishmanet and maintenance of within IPA connectivity