Stratford Road, Sandy
Written by: Andrew Skinner (Co-Project Manager)
The Stratford Road project covers around 3ha of species-poor neutral grassland increasingly dominated by coarse grasses and tall ruderal herbs such as Common Nettle and Creeping Thistle. The project is helping to restore this priority habitat into better condition through a more regular cutting and collecting management regime, aided by the grant-assisted purchase of a power scythe. Sitting between the RSPB Lodge nature reserve and Biggleswade Common County Wildlife Site (CWS), this project will also help buffer and link these two sites through a range of complimentary habitats including water features, woodland and scrub. The project area and associated habitats are already home to a wealth of wildlife including over 500 moth species and 400 species of beetle, and it is hoped that the improved condition will benefit these and other species long into the future
The purchase of the power scythe has allowed us to more efficiently remove biomass off the grasslands and begin to draw down the nutrient levels. We are already beginning to see the benefits in the form of a more open and shorter sward in places, and the resident Grass Snake population are enjoying the creation of the numerous habitat piles created from the arisings. This is the first stage in the restoration with the plan to start sowing Yellow Rattle once a finer grass sward has been established.
Benefits to heritage & landscape
The production of a 10 year management plan and purchase of a power scythe means the neutral grasslands are coming under a more regular cycle of management for the first time in at least 10 years.
The project area sits between the RSPB Lodge nature reserve and Biggleswade Common County Wildlife Site (CWS). It provides a suite of complimentary habitats buffering and linking these two sites