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HEATHER REGENERATION

There are two areas on the Commons where there were small patches of elderly heather which are now being successfully regenerated. Part of the process to achieve this is by controlling other nearby vegetation to a low height and density to decrease the shade that they cast.

At the top of Horseblock lane the Hilltop Commons Conservation Group have worked hard to reduce competing gorse and cut it back to a few inches in height each year. The aim is to allow a mosaic of heathland plants to develop with none so dominant that the others suffer.

However gorse is also an integral part of heathland habitat and as such it too plays an important role on the Commons. It provides song perches and nectar to a wide range of birds and insects throughout the seasons and is a valuable member of the plant community which sustains our wildlife.

Therefore in other parts of the Commons the coppicing of gorse is arranged so that there are always some plants of different heights and stages in development. This means there are always some plants in a given area providing different resources required by different types of wildlife. Left to its own devices gorse would become long and leggy and degenerate and die.