Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

The Devil's Spittleful Heathland Restoration

Heathland is one of the most threatened habitats in the UK and one of the most species rich habitats.We have an existing nature reserve where we want to improve substantially what we have, and in addition we have two adjoining arable fields where we want to restore heathland.

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There are fragments of historic heathland remaining across the north of Worcestershire which this project will significantly expand and provide links across the area. The reserve is close to the town of Bewdley. The aim of the project is to implement a more robust and larger scale management regime than has been possible before. Trees and scrub constantly encroach on areas of open heathland and the annual hard work of volunteers can only keep at bay the most serious effects. To achieve the open, mosaic of habitat which support the widest range of wildlife species we need to take larger scale action. The project comprises a significant increase of the grazing on the existing heathland, removal of trees, scrub and bracken, scraping of leaf litter and re seeding. Over the next 5 years this will see 15ha of dramatically enhanced heathland habitat. In addition we purchased adjoining fields amounting to 32 ha which are currently under arable crops. We have carried out a feasilbility study and plans are now in development for the restoration of this area to heathland. In essence this will entail the stripping of nutrient from the soil to produce the low fertility soil conditions required to restore a heathland. The cropping regimes already instituted are already beginning this process but this is a long term process which will bring results over the next ten years. The reserve is, and will be open to visitors and is a valuable local asset which we would like to be enjoyed and appreciated by more people. Outline budget: Management on existing nature reserve area £125,000 over 5 years Restoration on arable fields £53,000 over 5 years