Here at GreenAcres we pride ourselves on our considered and targeted woodland management programmes and want to be able to share with the visitors to the park our current practices, which includes the management of our habitats and species. Here you will find information about these habitats and species and ways in which we protect them and the reasons why.
Flower rich meadows such as these at Heatherley Wood, provide breeding and feeding habitats for many species including birds, mammals and insects. They often contain some of our rarest plants. Inspiring many painters and writers, grasslands occur on every continent except for Antarctica.
From the 9th century, large losses of permanent grassland occurred as a result of the Enclosures Act and agricultural development. More recently, grasslands have been lost through a range of factors, such as over-grazing, lack of appropriate management and agricultural improvement through re-seeding and ploughing.
The grassland areas at Heatherley Wood, which make up a large percentage of the site is classified as semi improved acid grassland meaning that the grassland has developed on acidic soils and at some point in its history has been modified in some way either by agriculture, drainage or the application of herbicides.
Wildflowers that are found within this habitat at Heatherley Wood include Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Creeping Cinquefoil and Heather all of which provide an important source of nectar for a range of invertebrates such as the Common Blue butterfly.
GreenAcres recognises the importance of this habitat and has put management techniques in place to preserve these areas of grassland.
Sections of turf, topsoil and seed bank will be lifted from within the construction areas and relocated to specially prepared areas of the site. These areas have been created by removing inappropriate shrubs from within the existing shrub beds. This operation will mitigate against any potential loss of habitat by creating new areas of acid grassland.
The ongoing management of the grassland areas will include:
- The removal of competitive species such as Dock and Nettle
- Annual hay cut of the grassland. The cut material will be removed from site to retain a low nutrient level within the soil
- Collection of seeds from existing wildflowers, which can be used throughout the site creating new areas of acid grassland
For further details about our Heatherley Wood Park and other parks managed by GreenAcres visit our website.