Holton and Sandford Heaths SSSI - SANDFORD MAIN (014)
Staff member responsible: ANDREW NICHOLSON
Unit Id: 1018680
Unit area (ha): 31.1639
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SY 938 903
Main habitat: DWARF SHRUB HEATH - Lowland
Date of last site check: Checked by:
Condition and Comments (click for history): Unfavourable - No change Assessed by: ANDREW NICHOLSON
Last assessed: 02/07/2010 Last assessment field visit: 02/07/2010
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Last CSM assessment: 02/07/2010
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: Confidence in estimate:
Comment: The unit comprises dry humid and wet heathland. The dry heathland is mostly in good condition with a range of structure, some areas with pioneer heath following tree clearance. A significant proportion of the unit remains covered in trees, much of it with a rhododendron understorey, but this is mostly in areas that probably will restore to wet heath ? most of the trees on the dry heath have been removed. Wetter open areas are mostly dominated by tussocky Molinia including those areas recently cleared of trees. Some ditches in the northern part of the unit ? a legacy of the previous MoD use in this part of the unit ? are affecting the natural hydrology and may in places be encouraging the Molinia dominance. Erica ciliaris in this area remains common and is likely to increase in abundance following removal of conifers in its main location. In summary the unit is unfavourable because of rank Molinia with little species diversity over much of the wetter areas; and because of the high proportion of the unit with dense conifers and dominated by rhododendron. To address the latter issue, a 5 year felling licence for is in place 15 ha of tree removal which will complete the tree/scrub removal programme. There are also plans to reintroduce grazing along with neighbouring land but this has not yet been secured. The SSSI is important for Dartford Warbler, nightjar and woodlark and numbers recorded for the whole SSSI in the most recent national surveys (2006, 2004, 2006) were well above indicative levels for favourable condition.
Number of adverse condition reasons: 4
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