Heathland management, Hawley Common, Nr Fleet, Hampshire
Hawley Common Nr Fleet, Hampshire is a derelict heathland owned by the MOD and recently under management by the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust [HWT] as part of the North East Hampshire Grazing for Wildlife Project. The management plan is to return the heathland to a wet heathland community in good condition. Conservation grazing and scrub management is an integral part of the management plan.
The site is currently dominated by purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), leggy gorse (Ulex europaeus) and scrubby birch (Betula pendula) intrusion.
I spent a very wind-blown day with the Hampshire Conservation Volunteers helping to clear the birch and gorse and in the process trampling bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), whilst avoiding damaging the slower growths of dwarf gorse (Ulex minor) on the south and south-eastern walls of a rectangular bund which was probably thrown up originally as an encampment for military vehicles.
The bund is being cleared to provide suitable habitat for basking reptiles. The leggy gorse across the site cut back to promote regeneration and a favourable opportunity for heathland birds, in particular the dartford warbler (Sylvia undata).
Information on the HWT grazing project can be found at: