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 December 2020 - grazing pilot
This year was to mark the start of the grazing pilot scheme at Moors Gorse, Cannock Chase. COVID-19 has delayed our plans but we are now getting back on track. This small area of heathland and woodland near the Visitor Centre will be grazed from next year by up to six traditional breed cattle in 2021.
This Autumn we did some careful clearance work ready for the installation of the fence around the perimeter of the area to be grazed. The fencing will be installed in early January amongst the vegetation to reduce its visual impact. The area has been checked by ecologists, archaeologists and the AONB team to make sure it’s in the best location. Gates will be installed but will be tied open until they the cattle arrive later in 2021. 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 over the coming months and then in late spring 2021 a small number of cattle will be brought onto the site to graze the vegetation until the Autumn when they will leave the site for the winter.
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. The area will remain fully accessible by foot as now; this scheme does not impact on any public footpaths or bridleways.