The north slope of Butser

The north slope of Butser

 
High up on the north slope of Butser Hill a small team of contractors is working hard cutting back bramble, gorse and ash saplings. They are at about 800 feet which at this time of year can be a challenge. In this first image their location is given away by a thin wisp of smoke from the fire used to burn the arisings.
 
The work site

The work site

 
The second image shows this years cutting in the foreground, and last years behind. The idea being to reduce the overall level of scrub in specific areas of the hill, whilst retaining the balance between this valuable habitat and the downland sward. This is slow expensive work and as a consequence the hand team will work only on those slopes where the  tractor mounted machinery cannot gain access.
 Butser Hill is a part of the QE Country Park but is also a National Nature Reserve and as such we are signed up to a 10 year HLS management agreement with Natural England and DEFRA. This will ensure that the important balance between conservation and recreation is maintained. 
 
Using a brush cutter

Using a brush cutter

 
The work is made easier with brush cutters and chain saws which will take the vegetation right down to ground level. The ever-present rabbit population together with the Park’s livestock will keep on top of the re-growth and hopefully avoid the need for the team to have to return. Butser Hill is an organic site and as a consequence pesticides cannot be used to control vegetation or to treat the cut stumps.
 

The team at work

The team at work

 
The work is being carried out by a Chichester based company called Natural Land Management Ltd. More information at www.naturallandmanagement.com
 
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