Grassland work carries on

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FUNDING to halt the decline of Northumberland’s grasslands has ended, but some work will go on.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has received £144, 310 over the past two years to clear scrub and gorse from a number of whin grassland sites in the north of the county, as well as from smaller coastal outcrops.

The work began after surveys in 2006 and 2007 revealed a significant deterioration of the unique habitats since they were originally inspected in the 1980s.

Tasks focused on tackling encroaching scrub and bracken, and volunteers spent hundreds of hours cutting and burning gorse and manually bruising bracken.

To mark the end of the project, the Trust has made a short film to highlight its work and the importance of the habitat, which will be distributed to all known whin grassland owners in the region.

Head of Conservation Steve Lowe said: “Although the funding for the two-year project has come to an end the work will continue, but on a reduced scale.

“The additional knowledge we have gained in the area during the project will enable us to further develop restoration and habitat management methods for this particular grassland type.”

The Trust is working with landowners and Flexigraze to establish grazing regimes involving goats and soay sheep, which will benefit the whin sill flora while holding back encroaching gorse.

The film of the work can be seen at www.nwt.org.uk