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New Funding for Horner Hill Heathland Restoration

( Last Updated: 24-11-2009 )

A new funding agreement has recently been signed that aims to restore Horner Hill to its former glory. 

The agreement will build on pioneering work already underway in other parts of Stockland Parish to transform carefully selected area of dense scrub into wildlife havens of heathland.

Funds for the work on Horner Hill turbary come from Natural England via Higher Level Stewardship, a Government 'green farming' scheme that encourages farmers and land managers to protect and restore some of the region's most iconic landscapes.

Dr David Allen, representing landowner Stockland Parish Council, said "This funding will build on work to manage the turbary at Horner Hill that was started almost a decade ago.  The Council very much look forward to more people exploring the spectaular views over the Blackdown Hills from it."

Historically, the Stockland Turbaries were areas of lowland heath and bog where peat turf was dug for fuel and gorse was cut for fodder.  The decline of these traditional practices have led to the land becoming overtaken by scrub and woodland, with an associated loss of diverse heathland wildlife.

Barry Lockton, Natural England adviser for East Devon, said "The turbaries are among the most important wildlife sites in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, containing some nationally rare species.  Higher Level Stewardship funding will support the re-establishment of a mosaic of valuable wildlife habitats, while increasing opportunities for local communities to access these special sites."

Initially, a programme of scub clearance will take place at Horner Hill.  In addition, an archaeological survey of the hillside will establish the presence of any historic features on the site.  A new circular permissive footpath will be created, bird and mammal boxes will be strategically placed throughout the site and new signage with wildlife and historic information will be provided.  Finally, when the site has been suitably prepared, new fencing will enable local Ruby Red cattle to graze the heathland.

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