150hp Valtra tractor with 'Destroyer'

150hp Valtra tractor with 'Destroyer'

The winter work as mentioned in previous blogs involves scrub control, fencing and woodland management and needs to be completed by the end of March. Pictured here is a large 150 horsepower Valtra tractor with a Destroyer attached. The tractor provides all the power needed to tackle heavy scrub. One of its best features is called a ‘rear-steer’ where the driver’s seat can be reversed along with the controls. This enables the operator to work directly over and above the mower unit.  So effectively the tractor goes backwards. The Destroyer is a very robust blade mower. Three one inch thick blades can deal with hawthorn and ash scrub that would otherwise need a bow saw to cut down.

The machinery is owned and operated by Rother Valley Organics, the farm business tenants on Butser hill, who look after the Parks sheep flock. One part of this family run company carries out contract mowing and habitat management, and there is also a butchery and outdoor catering units. 

Slopes of Butser Hill where the Destroyer has been used

Slopes of Butser Hill where the destroyer has been used

On steep slopes the tractor will go straight up and down to ensure that the operation can be carried out safely. On this slope bramble is the target species. This will be cut on a rotation to leave mosaic of scrub and grassland of mixed age.  A valuable plant when in the correct balance. One scarce Red Data Book species that uses its dead stems to over winter is the Blue Tailed Carpenter Bee .

Bramble scrub with the top of Butser hill in the background

Bramble scrub with the top of Butser Hill in the background

Once cut the bramble regrowth will be grazed by the Parks sheep flock. The machinery works on the hill for 5 days each year and compliments the work carried out by the site ranger team and volunteers.

Bramble scrub after cutting

Bramble scrub after cutting

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