Regeneration of threatened wildlife

Cows on Bickerton Hill

We've been regenerating the heathland at Bickerton Hill which means a much greater opportunity for wildlife to inhabit the area.

The results of heathland regeneration

The effect of removing birch trees and interconnecting areas of heath, will be to offer a much greater opportunity for wildlife to get established on the hill by enhancing the habitats of species including the adder, glow worm, common lizard (which are not common any more), green streak butterfly, and other ‘red data’ species which have now become very rare.

The heathland ‘seed-bank’ still largely remains, beneath the relatively young trees growing on the hill, and by their removal we ensure light encourages germination of the dormant seeds lying in the soil. To help with the rejuvenation of the heathland landscape, we may also spread seed from other Cheshire heathland sites if and when necessary.

Future plans 

Where tree have been removed, bracken control is often necessary. Removal of bracken which will ensure the heather and other heathland vegetation is given the best possible chance to develop. Grazing will also be vital to ensure the birch, bracken and bramble is kept in check, preferably by using a mix of hardy wild ponies, sheep and rare breed traditional beef cattle.

The combination of animals and the different ways in which they browse is extremely beneficial in preventing seedlings from becoming established, and as a result promotes the growth of heathland vegetation.

Other work includes the maintenance of visitor facilities such as the car park and the network of paths.