Greenham and Crookham Commons Management Plan 2009-2014: HLS agreement: HO1



HO1 - Maintenance of lowland heathland

Land parcels managed under this option:

General description of the management required

This option is designed to encourage the appropriate management of existing lowland heathland sites in good condition. Such sites require active management input to retain their ecological value. Sensitive management, using a combination of grazing, cutting and removal, or burning will be required. Archaeological features will be protected by the continuation of an appropriate grazing regime and the prevention of scrub growth. Maintenance of lowland heathland will help to maintain and strengthen the vegetation mosaics characteristic of lowland landscapes.

This management is intended to benefit the following features:

Management Prescriptions; the dos and don'ts

The following rules apply across the whole area being managed under this option.

Indicators of Success

Heathland within Greenham and Crookham Commons SSSI

Heathland not designated SSSI

Additional notes

Management plans informing the maintenance of heathland under this agreement include:

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.

Occasional stands of moderately sparse bracken on the edge of the heathland habitat should be retained. This is particularly valuable for Nightjar where there is unsuitable dwarf shrub structure.

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.

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.

Heathland on Greenham and Crookham Commons should be maintained to conserve and extend Nightjar, Dartford Warbler and Woodlark territories identified in 2008 (note that provision of bare ground for these species in the heathland should take into account the large resource available in the thinly vegetated gravel areas). Data collected through bird monitoring activities on the commons should be used to inform management.

On the southwest lozenge of Greenham and Crookham Commons SSSI, the heathland structure should be skewed towards the pioneer stage to ensure maintenance and spread of important lichen communities in this area.

On the lozenges of Greenham and Crookham Commons SSSI, gorse management is key to heathland maintenance. Management will involve diversification of the age/physical structure by coppicing and grazing by ponies and also a reduction in extent of gorse through stump treatment. The management strategy will seek to optimise the value of the gorse as a nectar source, shelter for livestock and wildlife, access management tool etc.