Sunday 15th May 2016: Heathland Conservation

A group of volunteers from Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers, armed with gardening gloves, trowels and forks, set to work helping with conservation management at Lindow Common in Wilsmslow.

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Lindow Common SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) features one of the world’s most threatened habitats – lowland heath. The site is actively managed to ensure that the surrounding trees do not encroach, preserving an abundance of specialised plants – round-leaved sundew, bog rosemary, bog asphodel, cranberry and bogbean.  Wildlife Explorers worked hard removing tree and shrub seedlings from designated areas of the Common to make sure that these important plant communities, including heather and cross-leaved heath, are not destroyed by being overshadowed by the larger more vigorous plants.

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The group finished their day with a walk around Black Lake, at the centre of the site, getting good views of green tiger beetles, dragonflies, damselflies and a family of moorhen. The highlight for many was watching a family of common lizards basking in the sunshine on a log.  In the background migrant birds were in full song and Cheshire East Countryside Ranger, Paul Hughes was on hand to help identify singing garden warbler, willow warbler and blackcap.

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It was fantastic  to have the opportunity to work on a SSSI and learn about the incredible species that make Lindow Common home. The children are very lucky to have a wildlife oasis, in a relatively built-up part of our county, where they can learn about the natural history of such a rare habitat firsthand.

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