HLS - MANAGEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
SPECIFIC OPTIONS, PRESCRIPTIONS AND INDICATORS OF SUCCESS
HK6 - Maintenance of species-rich, semi-natural grassland
Land parcels managed under this option:
- SU49644022, SU49643641, SU49640760 – Grassland between Alderbridge Gully and Ballshill and Handpost Gullies, Compartment 3E and 3B
- SU51642785 – North Eastern Airbase Disturbed Grassland, Compartment 13
- SU49655207, SU50641392, SU50650636 & SU50647780 – North Central Airbase Grassland, C14
- SU50647830, SU51647522 and SU51646335 – South Eastern Airbase Grassland, Compartment 8
- SU48645581 – Western end of runway, Compartment 16 (now part of amended subcompartment 1B)
- SU50647747, SU49644170, SU49644490, SU50648365 – Central Airbase Lozenges, Compartments 9 to 12
- SU48659321 – Compartment 15, North Western Airbase Grasslands
- SU50646888 and SU50649689 - Subcompartments 17C and 17D
General description of the management required
This option is targeted at the maintenance and protection of areas of species-rich grassland. The importance of species-rich grassland is recognised by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The option can also contribute to protecting valued landscapes and archaeology, and the promotion of good soil conditions.
This management is intended to benefit the following features:
- Species rich grassland including BAP acid grassland
- Great Crested Newt
- Archaeological features
Management Prescriptions; the dos and don'ts
The following rules apply across the whole area being managed under this option.
- Follow the detailed objectives in the agreed management plans (see
- Manage the sward by grazing with cattle and/or ponies and/or cutting to achieve a sward height of between 2cm and 10cm in October / November.
- Do not install new drainage or modify existing drainage systems unless agreed with your Natural England contact.
- Supplementary feeding should not take place within Greenham and Crookham Commons SSSI and outside the SSSI, should be confined to mineral blocks whenever possible.
- Control undesirable species such as injurious weeds so that by year 5, their cover is less than 5% of the area. Agree all methods of control with your Natural England contact.
- Ploughing, sub-surface cultivation and reseeding are not permitted. Chain harrowing or rolling are permitted except between 15 March and 15 July.
- Field operations and stocking must not damage the soil structure or cause heavy poaching. Take particular care when the land is waterlogged.
- To benefit Great Crested Newts the land within a 200m radius of a breeding pond must be managed extensively and no new barriers such as buildings, walls, tracks, or footpaths created. Potential hibernation sites such as rabbit burrows, log piles, rocky areas or woodland should be retained.
- To protect the archaeological/historical features identified in the Farm Environment Plans for all three commons, do not:
- Place anything likely to cause ground disturbance on or near the features such as fences, feeders, water troughs.
- Locate access routes on or near the features and if the feature is being damaged by the use of a PROW, consult the Highway Authority.
- Allow the development of burrows.
- Allow trees to prevent them being blown down.
Indicators of Success
Grassland within Greenham and Crookham Commons SSSI
- All SSSI land should be in favourable or recovering condition (i.e. meeting the targets set out in the Conservation Objectives).
- Archaeological /historic features listed in the Historic Environment Record, Farm Environment Plan and in the Historic Management Plan have suffered no further degradation. The depth of soil covering the feature/s has been maintained.
Grassland not designated SSSI
- The Soil Phosphate Index should be 0 or 1.
- By year 3, cover of coarse grass species must be less than 20%.
- By year 5, at least 1 indicator species for BAP lowland acid grassland habitat is frequent and another 3 at least occassional in the sward (see Additional Notes).
- By year 10, cover of bare ground should be between 1% and 10%, distributed throughout the field in hoof prints or other small patches.
- Archaeological /historic features listed in the Historic Environment Record, Farm Environment Plan and in the Greenham and Crookham Common Historic Management Plan have suffered no further degradation. The depth of soil covering the feature/s has been maintained.
Management plans informing the maintenance of grassland under this agreement include:
- Greenham and Crookham Commons Management Plan – to be agreed in Year 1 and to be in accordance with a.) the Historic Environment Management Plan to be produced in Year 1, and b.) Site of Special Scientific Interest Conservation Objectives.
- Historic Environment Management Plan for Greenham – to be produced and agreed in Year 1.
- Capital Works Programmes under this agreement.
Where the grazing system involves livestock managed and/or owned by others, e.g. commoners' livestock, there should be regular and timely liaison with livestock managers/owners.
Where grazing is not possible or grazing is not having the desired effect, other means of managing vegetation will be necessary.
Since all land under this agreement is Open Access Land, management of recreational pressures will be crucial to achieving the agreement objectives. This is particularly relevant where management is seeking to provide suitable habitat for ground-nesting birds such as Nightjar or wader species.
BAP lowland acid grassland indicator species are listed in the Farm Environment Plan handbook.
Until management on Greenham and Crookham Commons can be informed by the Historic Environment Management Plan to be produced in Year 1, activities which cause disturbance to the ground or alteration of archaeological/historical features are not permitted and your Natural England contact should be informed immediately of declining condition and/or threats to the historic/archaeological features.