Heathland Landscape

The management policy of the Board of Conservators is set out in The Strategic Management Plan supplemented by an Annual Implementation Plan and Annual Report. The Board is not responsible for the whole area of the SSSI – some designated land within the Pale is under other ownership. Progress on Conservation is assessed by reference to Conservation Objectives.

The Forest has 1600 hectares of heathland (60% of the area) mainly in 'unfavourable recovering' condition. It is characterised by the presence of plants such as heather, dwarf gorses and cross-leaved heath, some areas of scattered trees and scrub, areas of bare ground, gorse, wet heaths, bogs and open water.

The aim is to restore and maintain 60% of the area as heathland. This includes control of trees, scrub, bracken and exotic plant encroachment, producing age diversity in the vegetation and dealing with specific requirements of rare species. Restoring and maintaining heathland calls for skilled staff and the best equipment.

Management involves a number of different methods see below for an explanation of these methods.

Grazing

Grazing animals have always been present in the Forest area...

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Scrub Clearance

Scrub is the precursor of woodland...

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Bracken Cutting

Bracken was the cornerstone of the Commoners' farming system...

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Heather Mowing

Commoners used Heather for thatching, animal bedding and bases for hay stacks...

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Burning

Burning was used by Commoners to reduce scrub and rejuvenate grass areas...

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