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Wharncliffe Heath

On a slightly soggy Saturday morning we headed north of Sheffield to Deepcar where we met the team we’d we working with for the day, the Wharncliffe Heathlands Trust. We had a bit of a walk up to the reserve but it was nice to see the transition from industrial area to woodland and then finally to heathland. As we had our introductory talk the heavens opened, but we soon got on with some work to distract ourselves!

Our work for the day was removing young birch trees from the heathland area. Lowland heathlands are a rare habitat in the UK and are different from their counterpart, moorlands, as they occur at lower altitudes. These heathlands also have drier soil than peaty moorland due to being on rocky ground. The heathlands at Wharncliffe support a huge array of birds, including the once rare nightjar, plus an increasing number of reptiles.

Wharncliffe heathland is mainly managed using sheep and cattle grazing. These limit most of the tree regrowth and form new habitat areas which would be difficult to artificially create, leading to a diverse range of habitats across the heathland.

We stopped for lunch and a well needed hot drink then warmed up and dried off whilst having a tour of the reserve. Wharncliffe Heath is located at the top of Wharncliffe Crags, so the views near the top of the site were quite impressive. We also learned about the fascinating history of the reserve. It was an old quern stone factory around 1700 years ago and apparently the birth place of rock climbing!

By the end of the day the sun was shining and we got to see the area in its full beauty. Thank you to everyone at the trust for having us, especially to David for the fascinating tour. We had a great time and look forward to working with you in the future!

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