‘By a fayre down’, the breck heaths of the West Midlands

Clive Chatters explores the Kidderminster heaths of the West Midlands, describing their history and rich variety of plant and invertebrate life.  Around 1540 the antiquarian John Leland rode from Kidderminster to Bewdley by way of a ‘fayre down, but somewhat barren’. This is the earliest description we have of a heathland landscape that occupied the eastern flanks

Habitat fragmentation and the New Forest

The New Forest remains the most extensive heathland landscape in Britain, but it has nevertheless suffered greatly from habitat degradation over recent centuries. Clive Chatters and Catherine McGuire review the pattern of habitat fragmentation in the Forest from the 19th century to the present day, and examine how this has affected wildlife. The New Forest

The importance of Breckland for biodiversity

Breckland, covering 1,020km2 of eastern England, has a rich and unique assemblage of wildlife, which includes Mediterranean and continental steppe species found nowhere else in the UK, as well as heathland and coastal rarities. Whilst the region has long been known for its amazing natural history, more recently it has been overlooked: 'it fascinates but few, but those

Gorse Mites and their predators

Common Gorse Ulex europaeus is widespread on the Sandling heaths of Suffolk and on other heaths across Britain. While not a particular problem, it establishes quickly and agressively on disturbed areas (Tubbs & Jones 1964), ousting heathers and forming impenetrable thickets which are of limited value to wildlife generally. 

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