Hard Graft Replaces Chemicals in the War Against Bracken

The South Pennines was designated as a Special Protection Area in recognition of the international importance of moorland and blanket bog. Aside from wildfire, bracken encroachment is one of the greatest threats to blanket bog. Eradicating bracken is no easy task, usually involving ploughing or chemical treatments. But how do we tackle bracken in a water catchment where we would not want to use chemicals, or on the edge of vitally important twite nesting areas where mechanical ploughing would disturb or destroy nests? The answer is a return to good old fashioned graft.

In 2010, funded through the Watershed Landscape Project and co-ordinated by Yorkshire Water, working horses were used to trample and bruise the bracken, but in 2012 over 20 volunteers from The Conservation Volunteers returned to continue the task by hand, carefully checking for nests and eggs as they went.

‘This is one of a programme of works that we are carrying out with Yorkshire Water including drystone walling. All our work gives volunteers valuable training in land management skills.’  Dougie Watson (Project Officer, The Conservation Volunteers).

For more information about The Conservation Volunteers contact The Conservation Volunteers, Hollybush Farm on 0113 2742335.