Saturday, 10 November 2012

South Stack’s Heath Restoration

Dave and Denise with the Ryetec behind
I went to RSPB South Stack two years ago to see the practice of ‘close shepherding’ to maintain the heathland. Basically the shepherd takes the sheep out from their overnight enclosure and guides them through the day to graze the parts of the unfenced heath that need it most. The use of a GPS stuck on the horn of the lead sheep records the route of the flock. This is close shepherding in action:

This week I went back to the southern end of the reserve where the heath is waist-high-too-tall for grazing by sheep and burning is not considered an option because the vast amounts of material would make it too difficult to control. So a posh mower has been hired which gobbles up the heath and collects the cuttings for use as either compost or for cattle bedding. Here is what the machine looks like in action:

NB the gorse is not strictly part of the designated heath but was being cut to create a suitable area for storing the cuttings prior to removal from site.

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