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what has happened here?

what has happened here?

The dogs were brought up short on their walk yesterday. Where was Hannaborough Moor with all those enticing smells and tracks? Had Armageddon happened? An apocalypse?

No. Taking advantage of the still, dry sunny weather of the last two weeks the moor had been burnt – or swaled – on Sunday.

Swaling, controlled burning, has been carried out in Devon for thousands of years. It’s a traditional land management technique used particularly on Dartmoor and the Culm Measures to control overgrowth, removing dead and woody vegetation to encouraging new shoots. In the past this would have provided summer grazing but now, more often than not, it’s to provide good wildlife habitat.

skye reassesing the situation

skye reassessing the situation

The idea is to have a quick, not too hot, fire that removes the accumulation of leaf litter and young bushes, leaving the roots and any underlying peat untouched.  Done in the right way it encourages a good show of flowers like orchids and brings long-term benefits to the wildlife habitat.  Inevitably some animals will be killed, but the impact on invertebrate populations, like those of the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, should be short-lived provided the burn is not too deep.

these look as if they could be harvest mice nests - which would be very exciting. We shall check the area later in the year to see if we can find any.

these look as if they could be harvest mice nests - which would be very exciting. We shall check the area later in the year to see what we can find.

I could go on at some length at about the best ways to burn and about the impact on wildlife, but would risk boring you all.  Back to basics, I guess.  Fires are hot,  you have to take care – that should do it!

Locks Park Farm

Thanks for visiting my blog. All entries are presented in chronological order.

I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.



The Campaign to Protect Rural England has helped set up this blog. We want farming to thrive in England, and believe that it is essential that people understand farming and farmers better in order for that to happen. Paula's views expressed here are her own and we won't necessarily share all of them, but we're happy to have helped give her a voice.

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