Hardy's Egdon Heath Project
Extending from Dorchester to Bournemouth, the 7,000 hectares of Egdon Heath was the largest piece of heathland covered by the Tomorrow's Heathland Heritage project. The Hardy's Egdon Heath Project involved 13 partner organisations, previously led by English Nature (now Natural England), and worked on some 75 separate heathland sites in Dorset.
Tomorrow's Heathland Heritage, previously led by English Nature (now Natural England) and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a consortium of other partners, made great strides towards the national Lowland Heathland Biodiversity Action Plan target of restoring 58,000 hectares and re-creating a further 6,000 hectares. This in turn contributed to the overall UK Biodiversity Action Plan, which aims to maintain and create a landscape that benefits people and wildlife.
Launched in October 2000 with a five-year programme, the Hardy's Egdon Heath Project's key objectives were to benefit the nationally important wildlife whilst enhancing public appreciation and enjoyment of the heathland, particularly for the local community, as an area of environmental, historical and cultural value.
The project aimed to clear some 1,000 hectares of mixed young woodland and scrub that had invaded 75 different heathland sites, and to clear some 200 hectares of plantation forestry where this had largely failed as a crop. Traditional management by grazing has been reintroduced on some heathland sites so scrub and trees have not been able to reinvade. In other areas heather and gorse have been cut which has encouraged new growth. The project also aimed to improve access and on-site interpretation.
The achievements by the project were:
- 850 hectares scrub cleared, 48 hectares gorse coppiced, 204 hectares bracken cleared, 100 hectares pine plantation cleared to re-create heathland areas
- 5 grazing projects achieved
- 0.5 miles upgraded pathways, boardwalk construction, all-terrain wheelchair access
- Information including specific site information boards and leaflets, annual Project Information Sheets, 2 Project leaflets, heathland fairs, walks, talks and volunteer conservation tasks
- Local contractors have carried out work to the value of over £1,600,000
- Annual monitoring of 9 specific sites to chart the success of the heathland restoration works
For further details, please contact the Natural England team below:
Name: Natural England Dorset and Somerset Team
Tel: 01929 557450
Full details for Natural England Dorset and Somerset Team