Halkyn Mountain Heathland Management
Halkyn Mountain in Flintshire, North Wales has a long tradition of sheep grazing, heather and gorse cutting by the local community. However, over the last few years the number of active grazers has declined, with many areas of the common now undermanaged. There is now an increasing risk that precious heathland and grassland habitats could be replaced by scrub.
Notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Halkyn Common hosts a range of nationally rare habitats and represents the largest sheep’s fescue - spring sandwort grassland community in Wales. It has also been designated as a Special Area of Conservation for its calaminarian grasslands, calcareous grasslands, and European Dry heath as well as its populations of great crested newts.
Chester Zoo is working together with the local Halkyn Grazing Association to develop a three year management of the area through mowing and scrub management. This project’s main objectives include:
- Managing between 10 and 20 ha of European heathland over a period of three years by mowing and cutting back gorse and heather
- Reducing the amount of mature gorse to improve access for recreation and to prevent wild-fires from destroying large areas
- Creating a mosaic of heathland of different ages to provide a wider range of habitats for reptiles, amphibians, birds and plants within the heathland community and more suitable grazing conditions for the sheep flocks on the common
- Developing a more even grazing pattern on the heathland and the grassland communities and working towards achieving favorable condition of the habitats that are of national and European importance