In 2011, as part of a wider project monitoring different heathland-management approaches, livestock were introduced to Chobham Common, one of the largest remaining heathlands within the Thames Basin Heaths. In this article, Jonathan Cox and Clive Bealey discuss how grazing has impacted heathland vegetation at Chobham Common, and the implication of these results for heathland management in general. The
After six years of close observation, the author is able to paint a detailed picture of the engineering skills of this solitary wasp. The Heath Potter Wasp Eumenes coarctatus is a fascinating inhabitant of heathlands in southern England. It belongs to the solitary-wasp family Eumenidae, all of which use mud to construct their nests. Of
Chobham Common NNR is an extraordinarily large, diverse and species-rich area of heathland lying on each side of the M3 in north-west Surrey, barely 20 miles from the centre of London. It is heavily visited, with large areas of housing nearby, yet it retains an enormous range of species and is large enough to provide
Every year in September, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation organises a taskforce to clear trees from the heathland at Woolmer Forest, in north Hampshire, to help save the Natterjack Toad Epidalea calamita.
' "He who has once seen a ghost," said Cardinal Newman, "is never again as though he had not seen a ghost", and he who has once vibrated with the thrill of the heathland is never again quite the same… those who have once come under its spell are ever after its slaves.'
The Ladybird Spider Eresus sandaliatus (Martini & Goeze 1774) is currently thought to be restricted to a single known natural site in the British Isles. Also recorded as Eresus niger and E. cinnaberinus, it has a fascinating life history but spends most of the time hidden underground, and is often diffcult to locate even for the practised eye.
In the UK, the majority of long-term ecological experiments have originated in the last three decades. Exceptions include the two classic experiments, Park Grass, at Rothamsted (Silvertown et al. 2006), and Palace Leas (Cockle Park), near Newcastle (Arnold et al. 1976), both established in the 19th century.
The once extensive Dorset heathlands have been reduced over the centuries as a result of changing land use. In the east of the county, it is urban development which has been the prime cause of reduction and here the remaining heaths are strongly influenced by an array of factors, many of which would have been
On 24th July 1868, the eminent Victorian entomologist G A James Rothney collected a spectacularly coloured wasp with which he was unfamiliar on Stoborough Heath, between Corfe Castle and Wareham, on the Isle of Purbeck, east Dorset. The wasp species that Rothney captured was subsequently described in 1869 as new to science by F Smith,
In many ways the story of the Field Cricket, Gryllus campestris, recovery programme is a microcosm of English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. The principle objective of the main Species Recovery Programme is to reverse the decline of populations of plants and animals that are currently under threat of extinction.
For probably the first time this century there is some good news about Nightjars, Caprimulgus europaeus. A national survey in 1992 found that the number of Nightjars breeding in Britain had increased to an estimated 3,400 pairs (Morris et al. 1994). This is nearly double the number found during the last national survey in 1981 (Gribble 1983), and
The Wealden heathlands once covered an extensive area on the sandy soils of western Surrey. A combination of urbanisation, and neglect leading to woodland colonisation, has taken a severe toll, with relatively few good sites now left. The best of these remaining few undoubtedly Thursley, largely protected as a National Nature Reserve covering 325ha (just
Situated some four miles north-east of Wimborne in the northern part of the Poole Basin lies Holt Heath NNR, a reserve dominated by one of the largest single remaining blocks of heathland in Dorset. The heath occupies approximately 400 hectares (1000 acres) and all typical heathland habitat types are represented, with a mosaic of dry
The heathland landscape is dominated by tracts of Heather, Calluna vulgaris, and other dwarf shrubs of the Ericaceae family and is generally regarded as the response of nature to man's clearance of the primeval woodland on impoverished, base-deficient soils. There are strong ecological distinctions between heaths above 250m (moorlands), mostly on old rocks and under high
Lowland heath is an extremely scarce habitat in both national and international contexts. Western Europe possible contains less than 150,000ha, of which more than a third is in the UK. Once far more extensive, heaths have been reclaimed for agriculture, forestry and urban development. Most remaining areas are losing their wildlife value owing to the