Tractor unit and swipe

Tractor unit and swipe

 At this time of year the Park’s Ranger team is busy with numerous practical projects on Butser Hill. Due to the sensitive nature of the site most of these jobs, such as fencing and scrub control, can only take place now when the potential damage to the rich habitats and species can be minimised.   
Contractors are often used to catch up on this workload and the tractor seen here belongs to Natural Land Management Ltd which a part of the same set up as Rother Valley Organics who look after the Park’s flock of sheep.
The machine is a 200 horse power Fendt with a front mounted swipe, or heavy-duty mower.  
Cutting thich ash and dog-wood

Cutting thick ash and dog-wood

As well as the benefit of huge horse power this brand new tractor has a fully computerised traction system which will allow the driver to concentrate on the working implement without having to worry about the slopes and safety.
The target areas  for use are thick beds of dog-wood and young ash trees which have become too overgrown to use hand tools or pesticides. 
Before and after

Before and after

Once the machine has dealt with the problem the aftermath will then be managed using grazing animals and annual cutting . This will allow the areas to return to a more desirable downland sward.
In key areas on Butser hand tools and small teams are still the only way to deal with the scrub. Regular work parties are held throughout the winter and details of these can be found on the web-site