What we are doing to protect heathland

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Exmoor ponies on Greenham Common by Rob ApplebyExmoor ponies on Greenham Common by Rob Appleby

Lowland heathland, a nationally important habitat that many species rely on, is becoming increasingly rare.

Conservation work on our heathland reserves

Decoy Heath by Kate DentOn Shepperlands Farm and Decoy Heath BBOWT undertakes conservation work to maintain and protect the heathland.

  • Grazing land in summer with cattle and ponies to maintain low soil fertility and a mixture of vegetation height
  • Mowing grass and removing cuttings to complement the effects of grazing
  • Removing scrub to prevent heath becoming woodland
  • Allowing tramping by livestock to maintain conditions for flowers such as pale dog-violet

Learning to love heathland outreach program

In September 2012, BBOWT began a pilot education scheme based at Wildmoor Heath, part of the nationally important Thames Basin Heath SPA called learning to love heathland to encourage young people to value and protect this precial habitat.

Heathland and Beyond project in West Berkshire Living Landscape 2010-2013

In Berkshire a staggering 97% of lowland heathland has been lost. Greenham and Crookham Common, part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape, together make up the largest remaining fragment of heathland in Berkshire.

Between 2010 and 2013 we carried out Heathland and Beyond: a project that focused on the heathland at Greenham and Crookham Commons. Here were a few of the achievements:

Surveys

Detailed surveys to increase our knowledge of the abundance of key species.

  • Identified 93 individual adders across 14 locations
  • Recorded over 300 species of beetles including 17 Nationally Scarce
  • Discovered a steady increase in the number of nightjars
  • Lapwing productivity at Greenham falls just short of the figure to maintain a population

Moths are fantastic... We have had well over 100 species in a night.

Phil Dean, volunteer

Awareness

Awareness raising of ground-nesting birds at Greenham Common with wardens plus zoning, signage, leaflets and guided walks.

  • By 2012, 54% of visitors could correctly identify a lapwing.
  • Trained 13 people for a career in conservation

We have lived in Thatcham for many years but it was a real surprise for us to find out there is so much wonderful wildlife right on our doorstep

Thatcham resident

Habitat restoration

Restoration

Increased the area of heathland by 8%, creating a diverse habitat of bare ground, open heath, scrub and trees. 

Management
  • A huge amount of practical conservation work to maintain wildlife site in tip-top condition.
  • Volunteers did the bulk of this work, giving over 3000 days of their time

To hear and see a nightjar there after all the work was tremendously rewarding.

Roger Stace