Heathland Restoration and Management
The Planning Application to build a new home at Wolfs Caves on Jersey’s north coast included an element to restore the coastal slopes in front of the property back into species rich heathland, thereby providing a demonstrable environmental gain, in compliance with the natural environment policies of the Island Plan.
- This heathland restoration project began in 2015 and the scope of the project was to replace the existing dense bracken habitat on the northern coastal slopes with a species rich, high biodiversity heathland habitat. This was in order to demonstrate ‘environmental gain’ in compliance with the natural environment policies of the Island Plan
- The initial phase involved a complete clearance of years of bracken growth, followed by a rigorous raking programme to expose the underlying heathland soils
- This re-created favourable conditions for the colonisation of more beneficial heathland plant species, such as heather, gorse and acidic grassland, which in turn provide a value habitat for a variety of animal species.
- Several challenges were posed by this project including working on steep terrain, the removal of a deep bracken litter layer to expose the underlying soil and also the need for regular follow up work to continue the suppression of bracken plants
- Due to the size of the restoration area, the initial heathland regeneration works were phased over a 3-year period, to ensure the visual impact of these ‘heavy’ initial works was restricted
- Since 2015, the upper part of the coastal slope has been restored to continuous grassland with abundant emergent heather seedlings. Bracken coverage has been reduced by 90%.
- Our observations are that it takes approximately 18 months for heather seedlings to emerge and 3 years for significant heather coverage to develop.
- To date the project has been a great success. Favourable heathland habitat has re-established within only 3 years and this will be carefully managed by the Nurture Ecology team over the next few years to further improve habitat diversity and structure.
- The long-term plan is to install stock fencing around the new heathland and to introduce sheep grazing, to better manage the area in the future.
What our client says...
As part of our Planning Application for this site, and in order to comply with Island Policies regarding ‘environmental gain’ when re-developing in the Coastal National Park, we decided to tackle the bracken on the slopes in front of our property on the north coast.
We started working here with Nurture Ecology in 2016, and within three years saw real success with the re-establishment of heather and significant loss of bracken on the upper slopes. Due to this success we have recently agreed to extend this management with Nurture Ecology down the lower slopes.
We have found the Nurture Ecology team to be very helpful and friendly with their advice, and their Lands Team are always punctual, hard-working and reliable…a German like me cant say this often on Jersey
Martin Jensen, Wolves Caves, St.John