Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor SSSI - Shittlehope (023)
Staff member responsible: AMY CHRISTIE
Unit Id: 1028519
Unit area (ha): 576.199
Unit Status: Live Gridref: NZ 010 401
Main habitat: DWARF SHRUB HEATH - Upland
Condition (click for history): Unfavourable - Recovering Assessed by: BAINES, (MIRIAM)
Last assessed: 05/03/2010 Last field visit: 05/03/2010
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of site check: Last CSM assessment: 05/03/2010
Comment: Bracken is potentially a greater problem and although the unit passes on this attribute, areas of spreading bracken were noted throughout the unit and particularly on Blackburn Rigg. Burning management is generally good especially with reference to intensity of burning and representation of all age phases of heather. Some burning on steep slopes and in areas of high grazing was seen. Problems associated with grazing were common despite a large heft having been removed from this area in 2004. It is surprisingly slow at recovering to the south east of the unit in particular. In many places heather is present but evidently struggling, burns are not revegetating easily. Rabbit grazing is very high, especially within Blackburn Rigg and the lower slopes of Fatherley Plain reducing the capacity for sheep to graze without damage. There is a large variety of types of bog/mire including wet heath throughout thecentre of the unit which has been modified by former agricultural activities (evidenced by rigg and furrow and ancient field margins). Points were generally taken from the characteristic deeper peat and sphagnum areas. Overall the unit fails on grazing issues (rabbit and sheep) a small bit of modification to the burning regime is required and bracken needs to be effectively controlled.This survey and former ones have revealed a good population of adders on this unit. An HLS agreement has now been signed to address the issues identified therefore the unit is assessed as unfavourable recovering.
Number of adverse condition reasons: 1
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