Greenham and Crookham Commons Management Plan 2009-2014: HLS agreement

A Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with Natural England was signed in September 2008, to run for 10 years until 2018.

Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England to deliver effective environmental management on their land.

Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) is in the top tier of options available under this scheme and aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas. It involves complex environmental management. There is a wide range of management options available and these are designed to support key features of the different areas of the English countryside. More detail can found on Natural England'sHigher Level Stewardship web page.

The targeted funding and advice available via HLS helps to maintain and enhance the nature conservation value and (implicitly) the biodiversity of the common.

Those areas of the common covered by the SSSI notification are currently (2013) in the scheme. These parts were previously under a Countryside Stewardship Agreement (a forerunner of Environmental Stewardship).

It is hoped to bring additional areas of the common into the agreement during the term of this management plan, to increase the overall benefit to the habitats and the wildlife. Indeed the remainder of compartment 6 has now (2013) been included following completion of heathland restoration work by BBOWT as part of the 'Heathland and beyond' project under the West Berkshire Living Landscape Project.

A structured survey of all environmental features on the land, known as a Farm Environment Plan (FEP) a is a pre-requisite for HLS funding. An FEP has been produced for the whole common, in order that the HLS coverage can be extended.

The habitat types covered by the HLS agreement are lowland heathland and species-rich, semi-natural grassland. The map below (Natural England 2008) shows the areas covered by the agreement, as it applies to each habitat type. The agreement also provides funding related to the maintenance of the herd of Exmoor ponies on the common. For more detail, including specific management prescriptions and indicators of success, please see appendices HK6 to HR2.

Natural England 2008

HLS areas by subcompartment

Compartment Subcompartment ha Locale HK6 (MG) HK7 (RG) HO1 (MH) HO2 (RH) HR2 (NB)
01 01A 4.1 Near Pyle Hill gate HO1
01B 10.7 End of runway HK6 HK7 HO1 HO2
01C 9.6 Sandleford Heath HO1
01D 9.8 Sandleford Woods
02 02A 11.1 Brackenhurst Heath HO1
02B 6.8 Peckmoor Copse
03 03A 7.6 Aldernbridge Gully
03B 11.9 Aldernbridge/Ballshill Heath HK6 HO1
03C 7.3 Ballshill Gully, Handpost Gully & Peaked Hill
03D 3.8 Adjacent to east side of GAMA site
03E 10.2 NW of fire plane area HK6 HO1
04 04A 4.6 Clarke's Gully
04B 9.2 Bishops Green Heath HO1
04C 7.2 East of Bishops Green Road
05 05A 8.4 Martindale HO1
05B 1.4 South of Thornford Road near A339 junction
05C 9.6 Heads Hill & Goldfinch Bottom HO2
05D 8.7 Brushwood Gully HO2
05E 0.4 South of Thornford Road
06 06A 18.6 Crookham Common east of Old Thornford Road HO1 HO2
06B 3.9 Thornford Gully
07 07A 2.4 North of Crookham Road (w)
07B 7.4 North of Crookham Road (e of 7A)
07C 1.3 North of Crookham Road (e of 7B)
07D 12.6 South of Crookham Road
08 08A 12.0 HO1
08B 4.9 HK6 HO1
08C 8.5 HK6
09 09 19.4 Northeast "lozenge" of former runway/taxiway area HK6 HO1 HR2
10 10 19.4 Southeast "lozenge" of former runway/taxiway area HK6 HO1 HR2
11 11 20.6 Northwest "lozenge" of former runway/taxiway area HK6 HO1 HR2
12 12 19.6 Southwest "lozenge" of former runway/taxiway area HK6 HO1 HR2
13 13 7.0 Area to the south of the estern cattle grid on BBR HK6 HO1
14 14 19.5 Main car park, control tower and adjacent area HK6 HO1
15 15 7.6 Northwestern areas of Greenham Common HK6
16 16 77.5 Former runways and subsidiary areas HK7 HO2
17 17A 1.0 Pigeons Farm Road
17B 9.7 Approach to Bowdown Woods HO1
17C 1.7 HK6
17D 5.1 HK6
17E 0.7
17F 0.3 Entrance to Pigeons Farm track
17G 1.1 East of Crookham Golf Club
17H 0.1
18 18 31.0 Crookham Pools or relandscaped area HK7