Compartment 13  Area to the south of the eastern cattle grid

Compartment 13 covers a 7 ha area immediately south of Bury's Bank Road, west of Crookham Pools (re-landscaped area compartment 18) and north of the former runway and taxiways. It is not divided into subcompartments. The compartment contains planted woodlands and species rich grassland, and is grazed by livestock.

General description and evaluation of ecology

The compartment covers an area that once contained airbase buildings, since removed during the renovation. Some of the land was re-landscaped. There are some established small plantations containing mixed broadleaved and conifer species. Non-native Italian alder, seeding vigorously from the planatations, is invading some of the grassland areas, and also bare gravel areas in the adjacent compartment 18. As well as woodlands, the compartment has two ephemeral ponds, areas of neutral grassland, and quite large stands of gorse particularly along the road edge. Heather cuttings spread on bare gravels during 2003 have not achieved any notable result and these areas are now predominantly neutral grassland. The steep, south facing bank over the larger pond has patches suitable for hunting and burrowing invertebrates. Common spotted orchids occur in the grassland.

BAP habitats

Higher Level Stewardship

Options exist for this compartment.

Overall management objectives

Maintain the area of acid grassland and heathland by preventing gorse and scrub encroachment. Maintain and enhance the woodland rides and edges that occur on the east side of the compartment, focusing especially on the removal of non-native Italian alder. Maintain open water in the larger pond and ensure sandy banks remain clear for use by invertebrates. Prevent scrub encroachment around the ephemeral pond on the Western side of the compartment to help maintain the water levels in this area. This is an ideal habitat for many invertebrates and in turn the birds that feed on them.

Compartment 13 (7.0 ha)

Oct 2013: C13 west, looking east   Oct 2013: C13 seasonal pond dry   Oct 2013: C13 mixed plantation   Oct 2013: C13 plantation interior

13.1) Maintain and where possible, expand the areas of existing acid and neutral grassland.

HLS objectives

All grassland areas. Cut small sections of gorse each year and allow to regrow - maintain current extent of gorse. Remove birch scrub and treat stumps. Scarify small sections to create bare patches. Refer to the Ponds Management Plan for the ponds in this area, one of which has a south facing cliff.
13.2) Maintain and expand current heathland area.

HLS objectives

Northwest part of compartment 13, bordering Bury's Bank road. Control scrub to prevent encroachment by Italian alder and other tree scrub. Coppice gorse in favour of heather and where it is degenerate. An area seeded by heather in 2003 has had little effect. This objective may need to be reviewed.
13.3) Diversify woodland structure. Woodland plantations on the east of the compartment. Open woodland rides by scalloping into the edges each year to break up the rigid, planted lines. Create small glades within the woodland, targeting particularly Italian alder.

Scallop into woodland where it abuts open grassland to create a transitional scrub layer.

Monitor other exotics including holm oak and sea buckthorn, take action if they become invasive.
Opening of glades within the plantations was originally intended to provide winter night-time shelter for cattle, without them having to cross the road.