Summary & Outcomes
During the second year of the NIA programme, Wild Purbeck put forward a submission for additional funding, which was successful and made available an extra £297,000 for heathland restoration work.
This was used for land management work including habitat creation and restoration, and improved management of existing sites. In total around 400 Ha of heathland restoration was undertaken, through scrub removal and fencing to allow grazing to be undertaken. 14,000 m of fencing was installed on a number of sites, many of which were designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) or Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Work benefitted 12 landowners and included the following:
- Installation of cattle handling facilities at Woolbridge Heath and Cranesmoor Bog (Ministry of Defence sites) to enable more efficient grazing. Over 20ha of heathland restoration was carried out on these SAC / SSSI heathlands.
- Installation of 14,124 metres of fencing installed to allow around 300ha of heathland and a small section of acid grassland to be grazed.
- Installation of bridges, tracks, cattle handling corrals and cattle grids.
- Removal of 25ha of plantation trees to restore heathland at Morrish plantation, within the Arne peninsula.
Scrub clearance at Creech Heath to remove dense gorse on an Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) site. This will be followed up by spraying of regrowth and selective thinning.
0.8 hectares of Rhododendron removed, this area cleared extends an existing cleared area of heathland that has been designated as a SNCI
Highlights and challenges
The biggest challenge was the timescale – information on the additional funding came through towards the end of November 2013, and the work had to be completed by the end of March. Getting firm quotes for the work to be undertaken in a short timescale, and ensuring the work was undertaken was a challenge, particularly as the weather in January and February of 2014 was extremely wet.
Following the clearance of plantation trees at Morrishes, the land was included in a larger parcel put up for sale. The 96ha site, known as Slepe Heath, was purchased by the National Trust at the end of 2014, so its long term future is now secure. The National Trust will include this land within the large heathland grazing unit.