Trust protects rare habitat at heathland gem

Wednesday 8th February 2017

The county’s largest nature conservation charity has given wildlife a helping hand at a local beauty spot by safeguarding one of the UK’s rarest habitats.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has been carrying out conservation work at its Gentleshaw Common nature reserve to help protect lowland heathland.

Gentleshaw Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and represents one of the largest surviving areas of the much reduced habitat in the county. It is estimated Staffordshire lost around 90 per cent of its heathland between 1775 and 1990.

Lowland heathland is vital for a variety of wildlife including birds, solitary bees and wasps as well as many species of plants including bog asphodel, heather and fly-catching carnivorous sundew.

Over the winter, the Trust used a contractor to help the volunteers who work on the site to clear a large area by clearing birch and oak scrub at the site to help restore the amazing views which can be viewed across the Common.

Hayley Dorrington, Gentleshaw Common warden, said: "It has been great to see the work that has been taken place on the Common. The contractors have opened up the views no end and I am looking forward to seeing the heathland plants growing back in the area.

“We have also had volunteers out right through the winter months, thinning out a small section of woodland near the Common. The volunteers have thoroughly enjoyed carrying out the work and are looking forward to what 2017 brings on the nature reserve."

Anyone interested in joining the Trust’s Gentleshaw Common work party, which takes place on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, starting at 10.30am, should contact Hayley Dorrington at the Trust on 07973 930230.