The major land use of The Carrs is for arable and pastoral farming. Although this is not a natural habitat, but a mosaic of managed land, it is an important habitat for biodiversity. Farmland can include areas of semi-natural habitat which can support species rich communities, often under Environmental Stewardship schemes which support farmers in enriching these areas for wildlife. Barn owl, Skylark, Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting House and Tree Sparrows, Brown Hare, Water Vole, Bats and Bumble Bees are just some of the species which farmland habitat supports. Many farmland birds, annual flowing plants, bats and bee populations have been declining over recent years to it is more important than ever to look after their habitats.
Wetland habitat has been classified as a priority habitat in the Scarborough BAP and consequently has its own habitat action plan for the area. The Carrs Wetland Project aims to restore an area which was once vast wetland habitat to enrich the wildlife value of the area. Wetlands can come un many forms depending on how wet they are, the lime concentrations in the water and the main vegetation types that occur there. The main wetland habitat on The Carrs is wet grassland and the wetness of these areas fluctuate with the seasons. This type of habitat is particularly important for breeding waders and farmland birds in summer and for migrating wildfowl during the winter. Fen meadow, reed bed and wet woodland are also important wetland habitats but are sparsely represented on The Carrs.
Hedgerows can be found on The Carrs and these are considered an important feature of the English landscape. They are important as they serve as a habitat which is utilized by many species, such as bats and birds. They also act as a place for small animals to take shelter and an important food source for birds in the form of berries they produce. Hedgerows can be deemed as species rich hedgerows if they contain 4 or more woody species in a 30m stretch and usually the older they are, the more diverse they become; therefore it is important to conserve existing hedgerows to sustain the biodiversity of the area.
Species rich ditches, ponds, lakes and seasonally wet scrapes are all feature of The Carrs landscape and support a high biodiversity. From a botanical perspective ditches can be extremely rich if managed appropriately (Read more on ditches here.) In turn, they can support good invertebrate populations; dragonfly diversity is high in the area for example. The ditches of The Carrs support mammals such as Otter, Water Vole and Bats. Amphibians too can be found in large numbers: at Flixton Carr. I have encountered toads in their hundreds at spawning times. The seasonally wet in-field scrapes are particularly valuable for waders ,as when the water recedes, it reveals food in abundance for these birders on the marshy fringes. (Find more on scrape creation in ‘Resources’ )