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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 13:49 GMT
Heather scheme helps rare birds
Ranger Phil Slack
Ranger Phil Slack is part of a team which collects heather for seeding
Heath rangers are restoring East Sussex heathland to its former glory to provide a habitat for endangered birds.

The first stage of the project at Chailey Commons is being completed this month in time for the nesting season.

Scrub is being cleared and seeded with heather to reverse the invasion of birch and bracken that has taken place over the past 200 years.

Heather is the natural habitat of endangered birds such as the Breeding Nightjar and the Dartford Warbler.

Guided walks

The East Sussex County Council staff have used machines to clear birch trees and scrape away bracken before seeding the land with heather gathered from other parts of the common.

Councillor Matthew Lock, lead cabinet member for transport and environment, said: "It will really help to protect this valuable habitat and the endangered species of birds that rely on it."

The council is 12 months into a five-year project which will include promoting guided walks and asking members of the public if they would support the re-introduction of grazing to maintain heathland across the Weald.

Building toll on heathland birds
09 Dec 05 |  England
Inaugural walk on heathland path
25 Mar 05 |  Southern Counties

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