Heathland Management Work on Cannock Chase
Staffordshire County Council will be undertaking some heather cutting work on Cannock Chase within the next few weeks. Around 8 hectares a year will be cut back to keep the rotational cycle going. An experienced contractor has been appointed who uses the best type of equipment for avoiding too much damage (as far as is possible). However, given the mild wet weather, some track and site damage will be inevitable. Not doing any work is the worst possible option though, because it means double the work would be necessary next year. This would cause much greater disturbance for visitors using the Chase and potentially more associated site damage. The contractor will however be mindful of the damage being caused, and will if necessary limit what is done, finishing the rest next year.
Click on this link: Map to see where the work is likely to be taking place. The only areas that may be missed (unless it suddenly gets extremely wet again) are the two pockets near Aspens car park. The ground here is already very soft and it will have to get very cold, and the ground dry off, before the contractor could do anything here.
The contractor is aware that he will need to level off any rutted tracks after work is finished so hopefully there will be no long term damage to any of these. The start location will be Moors Gorse this year as the heather that developed as a result of tree clearance is now due for the commencement of rotational cutting in order to keep its vigour. The contractor will be following an order of works programme and undertaking bio-security measures to minimise the risk of spreading Phytophthora to uninfected sites.
In addition, some scrub removal work will be undertaken on the East Sherbrook banks – mainly small birch and pine more recently invaded – as well as some pine and birch scrub removal from the Sherbrook Valley itself to improve the habitat and create better conditions for the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly’s food plant. It is planned to do some scrub control in Oldacre Valley, but the weather may stall this work which would then have to be deferred until next year.