We manage Cannock Chase Country Park which is a beautiful area of heathland and wood pasture in the south of the county.
Since 2016 we have been discussing and developing management proposals for the country park, discussing different options. This included types of management that have been used for many years on the Chase, such as cutting and controlled burning of heather, cutting and spot treating trees and scrub, and cutting and spraying bracken. The options also included reintroducing grazing with livestock, which was the traditional way the Chase was managed before the Great War.
The purpose of these discussions was to inform how the site should be managed under a new 10-year countryside stewardship scheme starting in 2019. The scheme must move the habitats on the Chase into 'favourable condition' for wildlife, which is a legal requirement reflecting the national and international significance of the site.
Update 2020 - grazing pilot starts
Spring 2020 sees the start of the grazing pilot scheme at Moors Gorse, Cannock Chase. This small area of heathland and woodland near the Visitor Centre will be grazed this summer by up to six traditional breed cattle.
Work will start in March with clearance work ahead of installation of fencing around the perimeter of the area to be grazed. The fencing has been located in amongst the vegetation to reduce its visual impact, and the area has been checked by ecologists, archaeologists and the AONB team to make sure it’s in the best location. Initially gaps will be left in the fence and gates will later be installed. There will also be special features to ensure deer and other wildlife can still get about easily. Water troughs and handling facilities will also be installed and then later in the summer a small number of cattle will be brought onto the site to graze the vegetation for a few months.
This will help to more naturally manage the vegetation to create the best conditions to support a whole range of heathland wildlife. Find out more about Moors Gorse.