Newfield Spring Woods NFM, Moss Valley

Partners:Friends of Newfield Spring Woods
Key outcomes:NFM, community engagement, habitat creation, drought resilience, water quality
Local watercourse:The Moss

Newfield Spring Woods is a 30-acre ancient woodland in the upper reaches of the Moss Valley, south east of Sheffield. The wood is managed by its custodian and volunteers for biodiversity, as well as to restore it to a working woodland, with opportunities for education and nature connection (click here for more info).

What are we doing?

We have been working together to increase resilience to the climate emergency by creating numerous features throughout the wood that help to capture and slow the flow of storm waters as well as retain water in the landscape for longer during times of drought. Over 60 leaky barriers of varying shapes and sizes have been positioned across streams, overland flows and ditches that run through the woodland, causing water to back up behind them during heavy rainfall, temporarily holding it back and slowing the flow into the main river network during the peak of a storm. Some of these features are creating new wildlife habitats within the woodland while others capture large volumes of sediment that would otherwise have found their way into the Moss Brook which suffers from heavy sediment inputs. All the natural materials used to build the leaky barriers are resourced from the site in line with the management plan for the woodlands.

All of the work to install the leaky barriers has been completed by volunteers who are also monitoring impacts of the barriers on the river channel and bankside vegetation. A partnership with New Beginnings at Voluntary Action Sheffield has allowed us to welcome asylum seekers and refugees onto our volunteer days in the woods.


DCRT are working to expand NFM activities across the wider Moss catchment and have been collaborating with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to continue the installation of leaky barriers into their Moss Valley reserve which shares a boundary with Newfield Spring Woods.

A mapping project has also been undertaken with iCASP to help identify priority areas for NFM and most effective intervention types across the Moss catchment. Learn more here The Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme.

Hazel hurdles after construction and ‘slowing the flow.’

A large leaky dam online holding back large amounts of rainwater and runoff.

Surveying undertaken by DCRT and volunteers is really important to understanding the impacts of NFM.


Our NFM Officer Dr Debbie Coldwell explains what a leaky dam is!


Watch a leaky dam in action during heavy rainfall.

Find out more about the New Beginnings project with refugees and asylum seekers in the woods


This article appeared in the Spring 2024 edition of Smallwoods magazine, published by the Small Woods Association.

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