On the weekend of the 4th and 5th of March, 2nd New Haw Scout Group started work on achieving their Group Environment Award.
On the first day we worked on a small section of Wisley common close to Birchmere campsite (where we hold our Family Fun Day) clearing it of Birch trees and scrub.
Wisley Common is an important wildlife habitat and is recognised nationally as a Site of Special Scientific Interest or SSSI. The common is an area of Lowland Heath formed thousands of years ago when woodland was cleared from the area. Grazing prevented the regrowth of trees in the area - the absence of trees and the acidic soil generated a habitat that supports a wide range of unusual wildlife. Without grazing, Birch and Scot's Pine rapidly invade the heath and without their removal the habitat is destroyed. Lowland Heath has been in rapid decline since the 1950's.
In order to preserve this habitat a land management programme has been introduced. Cattle once again graze on the common and trees are removed. You can find out more at the Surrey Wildlife Trust website.
Our job was to clear a small area of Birch trees so that the humous could then be removed and the heathland encouraged to return. We felled a large number of Birch which were burnt on a large fire.