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Published on March 19th, 2013 | by The Town Crier


RSPB completes biggest phase in the Broadwater Warren restoration

The RSPB has just completed work on the third and biggest phase of their project at RSPB Broadwater Warren, to turn a vast conifer plantation into one of the region’s best nature reserves. The 10-year habitat restoration project is one of the most ambitious and exciting in the South East.

This winter the RSPB removed 27 acres of mature conifer trees planted in the 1950s on open heath.  As the trees grew up, the heathland vegetation became shaded out and much of the wildlife was lost.  The logs have gone for fencing and for use in construction, while almost 500 tonnes of horse bedding will be created from shavings. The lower quality wood was converted to pellets and wood chip that will provide enough energy to fuel an average primary school for four years.

The restoration process will allow dormant heather seeds to germinate.  In the areas cleared in previous years the heather is already creating a beautiful carpet of greens and purples. Woodlarks, with their beautiful song, have returned and are breeding.  The return of the heathland will encourage back other birds such as Nightjar and Dartford Warbler and it will also benefit reptiles including Common Lizard and Grass Snake.

RSPB reserve manager Steve Wheatley said: “Maps dating back to the 1700s reveal the area was an open landscape for centuries and aerial photos from the 1940s show very few trees. We’re not taking it back to the openness of the 1940s, but we will create a good mixture of woodland and heath which will be great for wildlife and visitors.”

The RSPB has also created clearings within the existing woodland. These will be planted this Spring with native broadleaved species such as oak, hazel and willow.  Wildlife such as dormice and butterflies will benefit.   Some woodland rides are being widened to allow in more sunlight, providing a varied mixture of sunny and shaded woodland trails for visitors.  In all there will be 150 acres of woodland to explore.

The RSPB’s focus now is to continue to improve the woodlands and trails and to help and encourage visitors to experience the amazing wildlife. The Society hopes many people will visit Broadwater Warren in the spring and they are already planning an exciting series of events.  For further details on the reserve or its events, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/broadwaterwarren

RSPB Broadwater Warren is open to visit all year round.  There are over 5 miles of paths and visitors can pick up a leaflet from the information board in the car park and follow the self-guided Nature Trail or History Trail.  The car park is on Broadwater Forest Lane, just off the A26.

If you have any questions about Broadwater Warren please contact the reserve team on 01892 752430 or via email: broadwater.warren@rspb.org.uk

The work has been possible thanks to generous contributions from the SITA Trust, Biffa Award and the Heritage Lottery Fund through their Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme.


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