In a blink of an eye nature has a way of taking hold. A good growing season produces vigorous growth of vegetation and if not checked the natural progression over several years would be to scrub woodland.
Working on a landscape scale – the Heart of Durham is continuing to connect valuable habitats for a range of species, but with special attention being given to those who characteristically have a low dispersal rate like the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly and the adder.
Partnership working – with two landowners the Heart of Durham volunteers are holding back succession on a connecting site between the Waskerley Way C2C cycle route, a former old railway line, the Charlton Howl line and an area of land that has succumbed to blanket cover by gorse.
Restoring habitat- Cutting back the gorse and scrub provides valuable sheltered areas not only for butterflies and other insects but also as valuable basking sites for adders.
County Durham’s rarest butterfly -last year clearing away gorse and thinning trees uncovered a mass of marsh violets, the staple food plant for the caterpillar of the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly. It was with great excitement that two small pearl-bordered butterflies were spotted at this site in the summer, so work is continuing this autumn to clear more gorse and hopefully allow the spread of marsh violets.
Fencing for stock control-clearing gorse is one thing but newly cleared areas unless grazed will become rank areas of grassland, so the Heart of Durham volunteers are clearing tumbled stone walls and fencing short sections so that the landowner can bring in cattle to graze the area at certain times of the year.
From a dark dank area to a greened version one year on.
Brilliant work, brillaint team – The Heart of Durham.