Grassland habitat restoration underway on Malvern Hills and Commons

Habitat management is well underway on the Malvern Hills to restore the rare open grassland habitats that make this landscape so special.

Cutting edge technology has been used this week to tackle scrub on the steep but delicate slopes of British Camp.  A small remote controlled mower has been used on the Malvern Hills to manage scrub growing on the ancient monument.

Malvern Hills Trust undertakes a programme of practical work each winter to maintain the open acid grassland habitat of the upper slopes of the Malvern Hills.  Rare in the UK, the Malvern are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for this grassland. 

The work is essential to maintain the open grasslands which can be overtaken by scrub and trees creeping up the slopes of the Hills.  Tree clearance is focused on where the vegetation is having a detrimental impact on the rare grassland, archaeology, geology, views and access and sites are carefully selected each year.

Practical management is in addition to the grazing livestock which takes place all year round.  Cattle and sheep nibble off the new growth and young saplings once an area has been cleared to keep it open.

Without this ongoing work, the whole of the Hills would eventually become wooded and many of the things that people come here to see, including the views, would be lost. 

Where once the Hills were almost completely free of trees, one third of the Malvern Hills is now woodland, a habitat that supports a wide range of species from birds to rare bats.  Conserving the woodland on the lower slopes of the Malvern Hills provides a home for these species whilst the upper hills are managed as open grassland for the benefit of people, wildlife and cultural heritage.

If you’d like to find out more about the land management plans for the Malvern Hills see here.