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Managing Gorse

--- Posting from our now closed Forum ---
Weather permitting work will begin tomorrow to remove some of the gorse that has spread over part of the hill over the last few years. To help with this a new gate is being installed at entrance E (the second one up Troopers Hill Rd). This will make removing the gorse easier and also make it easier for our park keeper to access the site with tools in the future.

We do not want to remove the gorse completely but it is spreading too far into the heathland.

You can see how it has spread since 1998 here: http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/plan/1998to2010.htm

Posted by Rob, Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:41 pm

I should have added that this work is being funded by our 'Stepping Forward' grant. More details here: http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/steppingforward

The gatepost was put in this morning by the Community payback team. The gate will be hung tomorrow.

The team are also doing some work on the woodland paths this weekend.

Posted by Rob, Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:55 pm

Over the past two days the Community Payback team have carried out some work to manage the gorse on the hill. At the moment this work looks very destructive. However, it is being done to conserve wildlife and on the advice of ecologists.

There are three reasons why the work is being done.

1) To prevent the spread of the gorse into the heathland & acid grassland. These are 'priority habitats' under both the UK and Bristol Biodiversity Action Plans, as such they need to be protected. The heathland is home to many rare invertebrates that are not found anywhere else in the area. Some of the mining bees on the hill are listed as nationally scarce and at risk. The presence of the heathland is the reason that Troopers Hil was designated as a Local Nature Reserve.

2) To encourage regeneration of the gorse and prevent it becoming old and degenerate. Further areas will be cleared once the gorse in this area has regrown over the next couple of years. The aim is keep areas of gorse at different ages, without letting the overall area of gorse increase.

3) To remove the old gorse that has become a major fire risk. There was a small fire in March 2007 which can be seen here fortunately the fire service were quick to respond. If that had happened during the summer all of the gorse and a lot of the heather could have been lost (this might still happen but we have reduced the risk). The last major fire on the hill was in 1995.

You can see how much the gorse has spread over the last few years here.

The work is being funded as part of the Stepping Forward Project, it is being organised by Bristol City Council and carried out by offenders on the Community Payback Scheme. Bristol City Council have been taking the cut gorse off site.

The work is in accordance with the Management Plan for the site which has recently been updated by Bristol City Council and can be seen here: http://www.troopers-hill.org.uk/plan That page also has links to the relevant sections of both the UK and Bristol Biodiversity Action Plans. The Bristol Biodiversity Action Pan is supported by various bodies including Bristol City Council, Avon Wildlife Trust, and Natural England.

There is one more session planned for later in the month to remove the remaining gorse in the area where they were working today. There will be a check for nesting birds before the work goes ahead.

Removing this gorse by hand is hard work, especially in yesterday's rain, it certainly shows that Community Payback is not a soft option.


Posted by Rob, Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:24 pm

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