Clearing of trees on Cannock Chase being planned

More than 180 acres of land and 40,000 conifers have been cleared on Cannock Chase to create new much-needed heathland.

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Wildlife experts said lowland heath, which provides vital habitat for animals and insects, is as rare as the rainforest. An army of volunteers took part in the restoration project. The people behind the Connecting Cannock Chase Lowland Heathland scheme are also keen to speak with local farmers interested in grazing animals.

Heathland grazing was a practice common on Cannock Chase more than 100 years ago.

The Forestry Commission said 80 per cent of lowland heath has been lost since 1800 but the UK still holds a fifth of the world’s stock.

However Staffordshire has lost more than 90 per cent of the habitat due to development, afforestation and agriculture, making every restored hectare important.

Roger Wilson, from the Forestry Commission, said: “Trees are vital for a more sustainable future, but we’ve also been working hard on the chase to restore heathland and connect sites together with wildlife corridors.” Bernadette Noake, biodiversity coordinator at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, added: “Cannock Chase is both biologically and historically important and has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“The habitat is a top priority for nature conservation as it is rare and threatened and supports a wide range of plants and animals.”

People can find out more about the project by attending a guided walk next Monday, meeting at the White House car park at 10am. The first volunteering day will be held the following day. For more information call 01889 880121.