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Essex Wildlife Trust - Essex Local Wildlife Sites Powered By Docstoc
					                Harrison Sayer
              A Management Plan
                  2011-2021
                   FINAL COPY

                    A report for

                Essex Wildlife Trust

                     by EECOS

Revised by D. Bridges, A. Muller, R. Tabor, T. Hilder
                   and R. Read

              Updated by L.Sargeant

                 Draft December 2000
                 Revised March 2001
                Updated January 2011




                          1
                                        CONTENTS



                                                                         PAGE NUMBER
PART 1 – DESCRIPTION

1.1.   General Information
       1.1.1. Location                                                        4
       1.1.2. Tenure                                                          4
       1.1.3. Management infrastructure                                       5
       1.1.4. Map coverage                                                    5
       1.1.5. Photographic coverage                                           5
       1.1.6. Individual compartments

1.2.   Environmental Information
       1.2.1. Physical                                                        6
       1.2.2. Biological                                                      6
       1.2.3. Cultural                                                        8
       1.2.4. Environmental relationships which may have implication
              for management                                                  9

1.3.   Bibliography                                                          11


PART 2 – EVALUATION & OBJECTIVES

2.1.   Evaluation of Features
       2.1.1. Evaluation                                                     12
       2.1.2. Summary of important features                                  14
       2.1.3. The site in wider perspective & implications for
              management                                                     15
2.1.4. Long term or ideal management objectives                              15

2.2.   Factors influencing the achievement of the Long Term Management Objectives

       2.2.1.   Owner / occupiers objectives                                 16
       2.2.2.   Internal natural factors                                     16
       2.2.3.   Internal man-made factors                                    16
       2.2.4.   External factors                                             16
       2.2.5.   Factors arising from legislation or trading                  16
       2.2.6.   Physical considerations / constraints                        17
       2.2.7.   Available resources                                          17
       2.2.8.   Summary of factors influencing the achievement of long
                term objectives                                              17

2.3.   Operational Objectives
       2.3.1. Rationale and operational objectives                           18
       2.3.2. Management options                                             19
       2.3.3. Limits of acceptable change                                    20




                                              2
PART 3 – ACTION PLAN (Prescriptions)

3.1.   Outline Prescription                21

3.2.   Project Groups                      21

3.3.   Project Register                    22

3.4.   Work Programme                      23


PART 4 – PROJECT RECORDS AND REVIEW        24




                                       3
                                     PART 1 – DESCRIPTION

1.1.     General Information

1.1.1.   Location                   Three miles north of Saffron Walden on chalky boulder clay
                                    plateau.

         Site Status                County Wildlife Site G61, modern archaeological interest:
                                    the old airfield as a whole is included in Essex Sites and
                                    Monuments Register Nos. 16573-16585
         SSSI Name                  Not applicable
         Country                    England
         County                     Essex
         OS Grid Reference          TL 557441
         OS Sheet Number            Sheet 154 (1:50 000 Landranger)
         Local Planning Authority   Uttlesford District Council, Great Dunmow
         Total Area                 2.5 acres / 1 hectare (from reserves handbook)
         Access                     Park in entrance to factory road and walk north along
                                    B1052.
         Warden                     Tony Hilder, 51 Landscape View, Saffron Walden
                                    (01799) 525152

1.1.2.   Tenure

         Owner                      Essex Wildlife Trust
         Type of Holding            Freehold
         Date of Purchase/lease     1982, boundary revised during 1999
         Area                       As above
         Legal Rights of Access     By foot only from northern end of reserve.
         Reservations               Access needed for maintenance of overhead wires. Myhill
                                    and Sons Ltd. (and their successors) reserved the right to
                                    run water, drainage, electricity cables, pipes and conduits
                                    in connection therewith under the reserve. They retain a
                                    right to enter the site to inspect repair and excavate and
                                    make connections to any of these subject to them doing as
                                    little damage as possible and making good any damage
                                    done.

                                    The deeds held by the Trust indicate that there is a
                                    responsibility to forever after maintain a stock-proof fence
                                    of at least 1 metre along the southern boundary – see Map
                                    1. The post and rail fence erected in 2000 can be
                                    considered “stock-proof” for the time being but its state of
                                    repair should be monitored.

         Agreed Management
         Policy                     Annual Action Plan compiled by Warden and Reserve
                                    Manager.




                                                 4
1.1.3.   Management infrastructure

         Warden compiles annual action plan with Planning Conservation Officer.          Warden
         reports to Reserves Management Committee.

1.1.4.   Map coverage

         Sheet 154 Landranger 1:50 000 scale O.S. map
         Sheet TL 44/54 1:25 000 scale O.S. map
         Sheet TL 54SE 1:10 000 scale O.S. map

         All these maps held by EECOS.

         Chapman and André sheet 2 (reserve not discernible, but part of Hadstock Common)

         Hadstock Parish Tithe Map – not available (not held by Essex County Council).

1.1.5.   Photographic coverage

         Essex County Council aerial photographs for 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 held in
         Planning and highways Library, County Hall.

1.1.6    Individual compartments

         Five main compartments are identified here:

         4    Northern Scrub Woodland
         5    Boulder Clay Grassland
         6    Southern Scrub Woodland
         7    Airfield Towers
         8    Rough Grassland

              See Map 2.




                                                  5
1.2.      Environmental Information

1.2.1     Physical

1.2.1.1   Climate

          The following data are taken from the national maps supplied on the Meteorological
          Office website (www.metoffice.co.uk) for data between 1961 and 1990:

          Average daily maximum temperature: January 6°C, July 20°C
          Average daily minimum temperature: January 1°C, July 12°C

          Rainfall average for year : 500mm, 19.7 inches

          Average number of days with an air frost: 40

          Annual sunshine, mean daily hours per day: 4


1.2.1.2   Hydrology

          There are no ponds, rivers or streams present. The Boulder Clay Grassland drains to
          the west causing the old track in the centre of the reserve to flood seasonally.

1.2.1.3   Geology

          The whole site lies on Chalky Boulder Clay. This has been greatly modified by war-time
          construction of airfield roads and buildings, resulting in solid concrete underlying the
          central path and with much artificial material in the western half of the site.

1.2.1.4   Geomorphology

          The western half of the reserve is essentially level ground, with a low bank in the south-
          western corner and falling away sharply at the western boundary. The eastern Boulder
          Clay Grassland slopes down gently to the west.

1.2.1.5   Soils

          The site lies close to the boundary between the flat summit of Hadstock Common
          (where most of the airfield lay), which is described under the Ashley Association as
          being “fine loamy over clayey soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slightly seasonal
          waterlogging” and the underlying Hanslope Association (“slowly permeable calcareous
          clayey soils”). Large areas of the reserve have been modified by concrete and other
          artificial material.

1.2.2     Biological

          Notable species and habitats are illustrated in Map 3.

1.2.2.1   Flora

          See Appendix 1 for a list of the vascular plants listed in the Trust’s Recorder database.
          The most notable feature of the reserve is the small patch of unimproved chalky boulder
          clay grassland (compartment 2), which includes Cowslip (Primula veris), Fairy Flax



                                                    6
          (Linum catharticum), Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare), Hoary Plantain (Plantago media),
          Twayblade (Listera ovata), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), Common
          Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) and Bee
          Orchid (Ophrys apifera).

          Drainage onto the central concrete track and the surrounding compacted ground has
          resulted in a curious marsh area in which Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Hard
          Rush (Juncus inflexus) and Greater Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) are the main
          species.

          In the rough grassland to the west (compartment 5), Wild Liquorice (Astragalus
          glycyphyllos) is of particular interest.

          The moss flora has not been studied but could be of interest, given the extensive mats
          of bryophytes that cover old concrete tracks in the centre of the site.

1.2.2.2   Fauna

          Data from the Recorder database is restricted to old records for beetles and moths. On
          12th June 2000 members of the Essex Invertebrate Forum visited the site and compiled
          provisional lists for many other invertebrate groups. All these records are included in
          Appendix 2.

          No Red Data Book species have been recorded from the reserve thus far. Old moth
          records from Lt.-Col. Emmet include the Nationally Notable (Na) Tortrix Moth Cydia
          pallifrontata and several nationally Local species. The Nationally Notable (Na) digger
          wasp Crossocerus distinguendus was recorded by the author in June 2000. Numerous
          Local beetles have also been recorded, both by Guy Ackers and Nigel Cuming. In 2000
          Jerry Bowdrey recorded the Local snail Candidula intersecta. Skylark is a Biodiversity
          Action Plan species which has been recorded from over the reserve, but it is not certain
          that this species nests within the site.

1.2.2.3   Communities

          The areas of scrub probably conform to the NVC W21 Crataegus monogyna – Hedera
          helix scrub going into transitional habitat towards the W8 Fraxinus excelsior – Acer
          campestre – Mercurialis perennis woodland.

          The rough grassland around the fuel towers is an MG1 Arrhenatherum elatius
          mesotrophic grassland, with invasion by W24 Rubus fruticosus – Holcus lanatus
          underscrub and one or both of OV24 Urtica dioica – Galium aparine and OV25 Urtica
          dioica communities.

          The chalky boulder clay grassland is harder to categorise. Analysis of calcicolous
          grassland sites for the NVC project did not include sites within the chalky boulder clay
          zone of north-west Essex and these would therefore probably be treated within the
          calcareous end of mesotrophic grasslands. The sward would therefore probably
          conform to an MG5 Centaurea nigra – Cynosurus cristatus grassland. More “classic”
          chalk grasslands of north Bedfordshire through the Gog Magog hills of Cambridgeshire
          as the chalk outcrop heads north-east (to pass under the Breckland sands) probably
          conform to either the CG2 Festuca ovina – Avenula pratensis or CG3 Bromus erectus
          grasslands. Such communities may have occurred on the solid chalk outcrops around
          Saffron Walden, but the soils of Harrison Sayer are too heavily influenced by the




                                                   7
          mesotrophic clay component to be included within even transitional “hybrids” of these
          communities.

1.2.3     Cultural

1.2.3.1   Archaeology

          Any ancient archaeology is likely to have been eradicated by construction of the Second
          World War airfield, of which the two towers, a small “bunker” or block-house and
          concrete tracks form a part. The two brick towers are the bases of fuel towers. The
          main technical site of the airfield (to the south-east of the reserve) is thought to be the
          most complete in Essex. See Appendix 3.

1.2.3.2   Present Land Use

          Nature conservation comprising scrub, short sward grassland and rough grassland.
          There is no current grazing. Management does not yield any useful by-products by way
          of hay, wood or other produce.

1.2.3.3   Past Management – Nature conservation

          There are no specific records prior to acquisition as a reserve. Past reserve
          management has centred on conservation of the boulder clay grassland by mowing and
          scrub control. Annual Action Plan documents are held by Reserves Officers, currently at
          Wickham Bishops office.

1.2.3.4   Past Status/Interest

          The site forms part of an area formerly known as Hadstock Common. It is possible that
          this might once have been a large, open expanse of boulder clay grassland as a sheep
          walk, but unfortunately the parish tithe award is not available to indicate land use even
          100 years ago. The Chapman and Andre map of 1777 depicts Hadstock Common with
          a definite shading, rather than the “white” of open farmland land, suggesting that it was a
          rough, grassy or scrubby expanse. The whole area would have seen considerable
          disturbance during construction of the airfield, no doubt “wiping the slate clean”. The
          road through the site, which now comprises the wet mossy path leading through the
          marsh area, was subject to a Stopping-up Order in 1956. A Mr Harrison Sayer bought a
          large section of the old airfield land, including the present reserve site, from Myhill and
          Sons Ltd. in 1961 for £5500. Hilda Mary Sayer and Anne Mary Stein sold the reserve
          land to the Essex Naturalists Trust in 1982 for £900.

          Within the reserve, the status quo has probably been maintained in recent years. The
          intrinsic value of the towers might have been higher in the past but the stonework has
          been deteriorating due to weathering erosion.

1.2.3.5   Present Conservation Status

          The reserve is of high local value as one of the very few remaining patches of species-
          rich chalky boulder clay grassland left in the extreme north-west of the county.

1.2.3.6   Landscape

          The reserve is too small to contribute anything to the local landscape. The reserve itself
          affords views over open farmland to the west.



                                                     8
1.2.3.7   Public Interest/Community Relations

          Being isolated from any major urban area and only accessed from a busy rural road, the
          reserve does not attract much visitor pressure. It is not a dog walking site, nor
          somewhere likely to attract many visitors other than naturalists. This is advantageous
          given the fragile orchid populations.

1.2.3.8   Educational Use/Facilities

          The site is too remote and with dubious access and lack of facilities to be of any use to
          school groups. Special interest groups such as Scouts and Guides could gain
          experience at purpose-built work parties or study sessions.

1.2.3.9   Research Use/Facilities

          The airfield towers might be of some intrinsic interest as part of research into the wider
          airfield development. The reserve offers opportunities to study “post-industrial” habitats
          alongside semi-natural chalky boulder clay grassland.

1.2.3.10 Interpretation Use/Facilities

          There are currently no interpretation boards. Such a board in the future might interpret
          the airfield in the wider context as well as the recolonisation of the site by wildlife and the
          interest of the chalky boulder clay.

1.2.3.11 Recreational Use/Facilities

          Very little use at present, nor is it ever likely to attract the “passer-by”. Visits by
          naturalists are likely to account for the majority of visitors. In this respect, the reserve
          offers a flora rarely seen within Essex Wildlife Trust reserves, with Grays Quarry being
          the closest comparable site.

1.2.4     Environmental relationships which may have implications for management

          The awkward site access and topography means that the site is largely inaccessible to
          large vehicles. This has implications for the means by which the grass is managed and,
          more importantly, how the cut grass is subsequently removed from site or otherwise
          dealt with on site. The almost total loss of areas of chalky boulder clay grassland from
          north-west Essex means that conservation of the sward present here should be a
          primary management objective.

          The existence of asbestos in the ground from war-time buildings may have implications
          for the health and safety of visitors and Trust staff and volunteers working on the site.

          Rabbit browsing pressure is liable to cause problems within the reserve, notably by
          eating off the flowering spikes of orchids, and also in the wider countryside where rabbits
          are causing damage to adjacent growing crops. The Essex Wildlife Trust has a duty in
          law to try and minimise such external damage to agricultural crops.

          Processes of natural succession will mean that scrub encroachment is always going to
          be an ongoing management issue in the conservation of the open grasslands. Even
          within the blocks of scrub, which have their own wildlife value, succession is tending to




                                                      9
produce tall, “leggy” scrub and woodland with little or no low, dense cover. Such cover
would encourage greater use by nesting woodland birds such as warblers.

The intrinsic interest of the site as part of a modern “archaeological” site (the old airfield)
means that there is encouragement from outside to conserve the old fuel towers in as
good a state as possible, whereas it might be of greater benefit to nature conservation
purposes to alter this part of the site. Such alteration might have taken the form of
knocking the structures down, converting them into large, artificial “bat-roost caves”,
locating a viewing platform on the top or even just letting them fall down by themselves.




                                            10
1.3.   Bibliography

       Thorpe, S. (1996) Military Airfields in Essex During World War Two – A Comparative
       Assessment of Airfield Sites and Structures, Essex County Council.

       Warden’s annual report forms are held by the Reserves Officers at the Wickham
       Bishops office.

       Species lists held on Recorder database.




                                                  11
                             PART 2 – EVALUATION & OBJECTIVES

2.1.      Evaluation of Features

2.1.1.    Evaluation

2.1.1.1   Size

          This is one of the smaller reserves managed by the Trust. That said, patches of
          species-rich chalky boulder clay grassland are extremely scarce in north-west Essex,
          meaning that the sward here is still of some significance. Total reserve size – low
          significance; chalky boulder clay grassland - moderate to high significance.

2.1.1.2   Diversity

          Habitat diversity is quite high, for such a small site, ranging from man-made walls, moss-
          covered concrete tracks, rough grassland and ruderal stands to scrub of varying ages
          and the chalky boulder clay grassland. The flora is correspondingly diverse, including
          both grassland and woodland components. A fuller study of invertebrate life will
          doubtless show this aspect of the fauna to be equally diverse. Habitat diversity – high
          significance; species diversity – probably moderate to high significance.

2.1.1.3   Naturalness

          The flora and fauna has developed naturally since construction of the airfield but the
          whole area is likely to have been severely disturbed during construction, resulting in a
          much-modified landform as a starting point. The widespread occurrence of concrete
          tracks and other human debris as well as the fuel towers, means that the site has a
          “post-industrial” feel to it. Largely low significance.

2.1.1.4   Rarity

          Species-rich chalky boulder clay grassland is a rare habitat and the assemblage of
          species, including the variety of orchids, is now all too rare in Essex. No especially rare
          fauna has so far been recorded, but there is much work still to do in surveying
          invertebrates. Moderate significance.

2.1.1.5   Fragility

          The chalky boulder clay is fragile in terms of vulnerability to excessive trampling
          pressure, the temptation to pick or dig up orchids and also ecological succession to a
          less species-rich sward and even scrub invasion. The other habitats are more robust.
          The modern archaeological interest of the fuel towers is prone to damage by frost action
          and weathering in general. Moderate to high significance.

2.1.1.6   Typicalness

          The chalky boulder clay grassland is typical of what would once have been a widespread
          habitat in this part of Essex. The fact that it has survived to the end of the 20 th Century
          is very atypical. Moderate significance.




                                                    12
2.1.1.7   Recorded History

          Below average, given the lack of tithe award data, details of airfield construction and
          historical biological data. Low significance.

2.1.1.8   Position in Ecological Unit

          The reserve is something of an island of semi-natural habitat surrounded by arable
          cropping. There is some grassland connection with broad road verges which also
          support Bee Orchids and other calcicolous species. Low significance.

2.1.1.9   Potential for Improvement

          Probably rather limited within the confines of the current reserve boundary. The extent
          of species-rich boulder clay grassland could be increased slightly by cutting back the
          fringes of encroaching scrub. The value of the scrub, now developing into woodland,
          could be increased by effectively coppicing back the Hawthorn and other shrubs, whilst
          leaving maturing oaks as standards. Low significance.

          If the Trust could secure the leasehold or freehold of the small section of arable land to
          the south of the reserve, the potential for improvements would be considerable. It would
          allow for the re-creation of a large area of boulder clay grassland and would also provide
          for a far more satisfactory pedestrian access route into the reserve, avoiding the busy
          road that is currently the only way into the site.

2.1.1.10 Intrinsic Appeal/Landscape

          This is not a particularly attractive reserve to the layman, beyond the flowering period of
          the chalky boulder clay. Much of the rest of the site has the air of being part of an
          abandoned airfield......
          Low significance.

2.1.1.11 Public Use and Access

          There is little visitor pressure, particularly when the chalky boulder clay grassland is not
          in flower. It is not a site that can be easily visited during a country walk. Low
          significance.

2.1.1.12 Education

          The reserve is not suitable for school groups, given the lack of safe access and other
          facilities. Being small, the opportunities for other educational uses are limited but there
          is some intrinsic war-time historical interest. Low significance.

2.1.1.13 Interpretation

          There is no real need for extensive interpretation, but a single board would be of interest
          to explain the importance of the grassland and also the war-time structures.

2.1.1.14 Research/Study

          No current use. Further study of the invertebrates of the site would be of interest, in
          particular larger moths, spiders, beetles and molluscs. Further study of war-time uses




                                                    13
         would require excavation – a site like this would probably be quite attractive to members
         of the metal-detecting fraternity.

2.1.2.   Summary of important features
                                              National          Regional              Local

     Edaphic

     none

     Biological

     Flora

     Pyramidal Orchid                            Low                                  High
     Wild Liquorice                              Low            Moderate
     Common Spotted-Orchid                                                            Moderate
     Fairy Flax                                                                       Moderate
     Twayblade                                                                        Low
     Bee Orchid                                                                       Low
     Early Purple Orchid                                                              Moderate
     Cowslip                                                                          Low

     Fauna

     Brown Argus (butterfly)                     Low                                  Moderate
     Adela croesella (moth)                      Low                                  High
     Agonopteri subpropinquella (moth)           Low
     Argyresthia mendica (moth)                  Low
     Blastobasis decolorella (moth)              Low
     Cnephasia longana (moth)                    Low
     Cydia pallifrontana (moth)                  Moderate
     Epiblema foenella (moth)                    Low
     Pseudoswammerdamia
        compinella (moth)                        Low
     Stigmella plagicolella (moth)               Low
     Telechrysis tripunctata (moth)              Low
     Crossocerus distinguendus (wasp)            Moderate                             High
     Amara convexiuscula (beetle)                Low
     Atheta hypnorum (beetle)                    Low
     Derocrepis rufipes (beetle)                 Low
     Dorytomus rufulus (beetle)                  Low
     Dorytomus taeniatus (beetle)                Low
     Hemicrepidius hirtus (beetle)               Low
     Leistus spinibarbis (beetle)                Low
     Oedemera lurida (beetle)                    Low
     Philonothus succicola (beetle)              Low
     Phyllobius viridiaeris (beetle)             Low
     Phyllodecta vulgatissima (beetle)           Low
     Pria dulcamarae (beetle)                    Low
     Stethorus punctillum (beetle)               Low
     Candidula intersecta (snail)                Low
     Skylark                                     Low




                                                  14
                                                  National          Regional              Local

        Communities

        Chalky boulder clay grassland               Low             Low                   High

        Social/Historical

        War-time buildings                                          Moderate



        For invertebrates, national significance has been based on the following scale: RDB species
        “High”, Nationally Notable species “Moderate” and Local species “Low”. The assessment of
        flora has been more subjective.


2.1.3      The site in wider perspective & implications for management

           Unimproved chalky boulder clay grassland is rare within the county and consequently
           rare as habitat within Essex Wildlife Trust reserves. The nearest similar grassland within
           Trust reserves is Sweetings Meadow, at some distance towards Braintree and Dunmow
           to the south-east.

           Given that this is one of only two Trust reserves in the far north-west (the other being
           (Shadwell Wood), this reserve may be the only contact with the Essex Wildlife Trust for
           local residents. As a result, the state of the reserve (good or bad) is likely to have a
           significant impact on how local residents view the Trust. The lack of any interpretation
           or information about the Trust in general must therefore be viewed as a lost opportunity.

2.1.4.     Long term or ideal management objectives

           1. To meet all legal and health and safety objectives;
           2. To maintain and, if possible, increase the quality and extent of the species-rich chalky
              boulder clay grassland;
           3. To improve habitat diversity via management of rough grassland, scrub, woodland
              and hedgerow habitats plus other micro-habitats.
           4. To improve and thereafter maintain access to the reserve and provide interpretive
              material;
           5. To seek to conserve the former airfield structures in a good state of repair;
           6. To establish systematic indicator and BAP species’ population monitoring;
           7. To encourage study of under-recorded taxa;




                                                     15
2.2.     Factors influencing the achievement of the Long Term Management Objectives


2.2.1    Owner / occupiers objectives

         No real influences other than the desires of the Trust. Much of the potential of the site
         lies in the prospect of acquiring adjacent land to increase habitat size and to improve
         access for visitors and management equipment alike. Clearly, this will not happen
         unless the adjacent land owner is willing to sell or lease the land to the Trust. This is
         likely to be dependent upon the health of the arable cereal production industry and the
         willingness of the current owner to carry on managing a relatively small, irregularly
         shaped plot of land.

2.2.2.   Internal natural factors

         Grazing of the species-rich grassland might be a useful management option, but this
         may be hampered by the lack of an easy water supply for drinking troughs. Conversely,
         the indiscriminate browsing of rabbits could have a long-term negative impact on the
         orchid populations.

         Cut grass disposal is also a problem, with no means of getting cut material onto a trailer
         for removal from the site.

         Access from a road devoid of a side pavement and the slope down into the reserve do
         not lend themselves to access for disabled visitors.

2.2.3    Internal man-made factors

         The possible continued presence of asbestos in the ground (largely corrugated roofing
         material from war-time buildings) is a potential threat to the health and safety of visitors
         and work force on the reserve. Some clearance of surface material has already taken
         place but its distribution and future disposal should be carefully considered.

         The desire to conserve the airfield structures within the reserve is likely to outweigh any
         nature conservation benefits to be gained from their alteration or removal, with the result
         that building conservation should take a priority.

         The overhead lines will need to have the scrub below them managed to prevent serious
         fouling and disruption of the lines.

2.2.4    External factors

         The drift of agro-chemical sprays might influence the fringes of the site. Industrial
         activity in the factory adjoining part of the southern boundary of the reserve might have a
         localised effect, by way of disturbance to nesting birds in the adjoining scrub.

2.2.5    Factors arising from legislation or tradition

         Conditions need to be met in regard to projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

         Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.




                                                     16
         Occupiers Liability – particular hazards include the rough access slope into the reserve
         and the potential danger of falling masonry from the fuel towers. Cut stumps should be
         left in a safe condition. A site safety audit should be carried out annually.

2.2.6.   Physical considerations / constraints

         Vehicular access is extremely difficult. Disabled access will not be possible, owing to
         road access difficulties.

2.2.7    Available resources

         With no large centre of population nearby, the supply of local volunteers to undertake
         management work is going to be limited. The lack of on-site water supply may prevent
         sheep grazing. The only other option is to man-handle water to the site, which would be
         a laborious task for the warden alone.

2.2.8.   Summary of factors influencing the achievement of long-term objectives

         4   Difficult access for machinery and less able-bodied visitors
         5   Potentially dangerous materials and structures
         6   Inability to graze livestock
         7   Scrub invasion




                                                   17
2.3.    Operational Objectives

2.3.1   Rationale and operational objectives

        Ideal Objective 1 - To meet all legal and health and safety objectives;

        Achievement of this objective is of fundamental importance. If it is not immediately
        possible to resolve all serious health and safety issues, then it may be necessary to
        temporarily close the reserve to visitors. For ongoing potential dangers, such as the risk
        of weathered masonry falling from the fuel towers, annual inspections should take place
        and remedial action taken to make safe any potential hazards.

        If asbestos in or on the ground underneath scrub is perceived to be a problem which
        would be exacerbated by felling the scrub cover, then the future management of the
        scrub should be re-assessed.

        This is carried forward as an operational objective.

        Ideal Objective 2 - To maintain and, if possible, increase the quality and extent of
        the species-rich chalky boulder clay grassland;

        Maintenance of the current extent of this sward should be easily achievable, by using
        scrub control measures around the margins.              Maintaining the quality is more
        questionable. Traditionally, large areas of such grassland developed under stable
        grazing regimes. Cutting by hand or with machinery is a modern-day alternative when
        grazing is no longer logistically, safely or socially acceptable. Monitoring by means of
        fixed-point quadrats or photography should be instigated to determine long-term
        changes in sward composition.

        Inherent in this Objective is the control of scrub covered under other objectives. Scrub
        which is allowed to grow too tall may shade the species-rich grassland and also
        encourage the dropping of leaf litter over greater areas of grassland.

        Ideal Objective 3 - To improve habitat diversity via management of rough
        grassland, scrub, woodland and hedgerow habitats plus other micro-habitats.

        It is no longer feasible, nor indeed desirable, to try and convert all rank, scrubby
        grassland or mature scrub back to boulder clay grassland. Controlled management of
        these associated habitats will add to the habitat and species diversity of the site, but they
        should not compromise the primary intent of Objective 2.

        Ideal Objective 4 - To improve and thereafter maintain access to the reserve and
        provide interpretive material;

        Disabled access is not likely to be an option for this reserve, owing to the dangerous
        approach along the adjoining road. Access for other visitors should seek to maintain the
        steps leading down into the reserve in good condition and to open and thereafter
        maintain the path on the concrete track around the back of the fuel towers. A map-
        based interpretive board could illustrate how the concrete tracks found here fitted into
        the layout of the whole airfield and also identify the key wildlife features of the reserve.




                                                   18
         Ideal Objective 5 - To seek to conserve the former airfield structures in a good
         state of repair;

         A meeting between Shane Gould of Essex County Council and Antony Muller of the
         Essex Wildlife Trust discussed the importance of the former airfield buildings. The
         conservation of these towers is desired from an “historic building” point of view and
         should therefore be embraced in the management of the reserve.

         The Trust should pursue all possible sources of financial assistance to help maintain
         these buildings since their conservation is beyond the primary remit of the Essex Wildlife
         Trust.

         Ideal Objective 6 - To establish systematic indicator and BAP species’ population
         monitoring;
         Ideal Objective 7 - To encourage study of under-recorded taxa;

         These two related objectives can be achieved by way of similar action. The need to
         monitor the impact of management work is of utmost importance and the need to find
         and retain people with the right skills to do this work is equally important. There will
         always be further base-line recording needed on Trust reserves and there are many
         large taxa for which there are currently no data.

         It is felt that all Ideal Objectives can be carried forward as Operational Objectives.

         The following species/measures are proposed as management “Indicators”:

         For grassland management - Pyramidal Orchid
                                    Common spotted Orchid
                                    Early Purple Orchid
                                    Cowslip
                                    Wild Liquorice
                                    Average number of floral species per fixed 1 metre quadrat

         For scrub management – pairs of breeding warblers/other woodland birds

2.3.2    Management options

         The grassland is currently managed by mechanical cutting. Traditionally, such
         “downland” areas of boulder clay grassland would probably have been subjected to
         periodic or wide-scale unintensive grazing and this should be considered as a future
         option to assist with the maintenance of a short grass sward and also to help keep scrub
         encroachment under control.

         Scrub management via coppicing would create a better mosaic of habitats, but if large
         scale cutting is not feasible, flailing and/or brush-cutting the advancing scrub margins
         should be maintained.

2.3.3.   Limits of acceptable change

         The species-rich boulder clay grassland should not be allowed to decrease in extent
         from that present in the summer 2000. Ideally, scrub clearance around the margins
         ought to be able to increase the extent of open grassland by 5-10 %.




                                                    19
Deterioration of the fuel towers and other structural brickwork should be kept to a
minimum.




                                      20
                          PART 3 – ACTION PLAN (Prescriptions)

3.1.   Outline Prescription

       The proposed management of the site can be summarised as follows:

       4   Maintain and, if possible, enhance quantity and quality of species-rich boulder clay
           grassland;
       5   Manage ancillary habitats to maintain habitat and species diversity;
       6   To conserve the integrity of war-time airfield structures.

       Map 4 is an illustration of the desired state.

3.2    Project Groups

       Operational Objective 1 - To meet all legal and health and safety objectives;

       4  Conduct annual site safety audit
       5  Implement without delay any measures identified above in order to maintain safe
          reserve
       6 Conduct survey of asbestos in the ground; seek specialist advice and
          undertake/commission clearance where necessary
       7 Ensure proper training of all volunteers and staff working on the reserve and, in
          general, comply with the Essex Wildlife Trust’s “Codes of Good Practice”
       8 Ensure that all publicity material concerning the reserve, including reserve
          handbooks, leaflets etc. alert potential visitors to the need to walk along a busy road
          in order to access the reserve
       9 Walk and check the boundary of the reserve annually to check for encroachment,
          deterioration of boundary features (fencing and hedgerows, as applicable)
       10 Investigate the possibility of negotiating, by lease or land purchase, an alternative
          access route into the reserve via the open land between the reserve and the factory
          access track

       Operational Objective 2 - To maintain and, if possible, increase the quality and
       extent of the species-rich chalky boulder clay grassland;

       4   Mow and remove cuttings once a year in late autumn
       5   Research the feasibility of using sheep from the Trust’s “flying flock” to undertake
           limited winter or spring grazing
       6   Brush cut Bramble margins to boulder clay grassland in order to prevent
           encroachment; to be done on three year rotation
       7   Selectively clear scrub and treat stumps where scrub is overtopping what would
           otherwise be species-rich grassland
       8   Devise and instigate monitoring survey
       9   Review possibility of additional land acquisition to increase extent of reserve

       Operational Objective 3 - To improve habitat diversity via management of rough
       grassland, scrub, woodland and hedgerow habitats plus other micro-habitats;

       4   Brush cut one quarter of Bramble scrub within Rough Grassland (compartment 5)
       5   Instigate low-key coppice rotation within Northern Scrub/Wood (compartment 1) and
           Southern Scrub e.g. a 5-6 compartment rotation with one area cut every third year
       6   Coppice one fifth of hedge between compartments 2 and 4 each year



                                                   21
       Operational Objective 4 - To improve and thereafter maintain access to the reserve
       and provide interpretive material;

       4   Annual inspection of steps leading from road into reserve and repair as necessary
       5   Annual cut back of branches overhanging path leading into the centre of the reserve
       6   Cut back and thereafter maintain open the path comprising the southern loop of the
           track around the fuel towers
       7   Clear and thereafter maintain open a greater extent of the southern end of the
           central track
       8   Provide interpretation board
       9   See,also, point & of Objective 1

       Operational Objective 5 - To seek to conserve the former airfield structures in a
       good state of repair;

       4   Maintain liaison with Essex County Council archaeology section regarding
           conservation of buildings
       5   Cover tops of exposed walls with soft, lime-based mortar to protect from frost action
       6   Fell and treat stump of large Blackthorn growing out of associated airfield
           “bunker”/blockhouse building to the south of the fuel towers.

       Operational Objective 6 - To establish systematic indicator and BAP species’
       population monitoring;

       4   Finalise reserve “Indicator Species” list and monitor Biodiversity Action Plan species
           lists for updates
       5   Determine monitoring methods and personnel to undertake work
       6   Where external expert assistance is required for training and/or monitoring work,
           liaise with appropriate individuals/societies to secure appropriate skills to achieve
           necessary monitoring levels
       7   Initiate necessary training programs
       8   Review results of monitoring and feedback to annual action plan compilation for
           future management work

       Operational Objective 7 - To encourage study of under-recorded taxa;

       4   Identify serious gaps in natural history knowledge
       5   Establish contacts with relevant experts to encourage survey work on the reserve


3.3.   Project Register

       Not required.




                                                 22
3.4   Work Programme

      For all subsequent pages the priority of the work is coded as follows:

      1 = project must be carried out this year
      2 = project ought to be carried out this year if time permits or in the following year
      3 = Priority should be given to higher ranked tasks and these jobs only
          undertaken in the absence of other tasks

         Operational Objective 1 - To meet all legal and health and safety objectives;

                                                                       YEAR
                                                                   01 02 03 04 05

      Conduct annual site safety audit                             1   1   1   1   1

      Implement without delay any measures identified              1   1   1   1   1
      above in order to maintain safe reserve

      Conduct survey of asbestos in the ground;
      seek specialist advice and undertake/commission              1
      clearance where necessary

      Ensure proper training of all volunteers and staff
      working on the reserve and, in general, comply with          1   1   1   1   1
      the Essex Wildlife Trust’s “Codes of Good Practice”

      Ensure that all publicity material concerning the
      reserve, including reserve handbooks, leaflets etc.          3   3   3   3   3
      alert potential visitors to the need to walk along
      a busy road in order to access the reserve

      Walk and check the boundary of the reserve
      annually to check for encroachment, deterioration            3   3   3   3   3
      of boundary features (fencing and hedgerows,
      as applicable).




                                               23
  Operational Objective 2 - To maintain and, if possible, increase the quality and
            extent of the species-rich chalky boulder clay grassland;

                                                                   YEAR
                                                               01 02 03 04 05

Mow and remove cuttings once a year in late autumn             1   1   1   1   1

Research the feasibility of using sheep from the Trust’s
“flying flock” to undertake limited winter or spring grazing   3   3

Brush cut Bramble margins to boulder clay grassland in
order to prevent encroachment; to be done on                   1   1   1   1   1
three year rotation

Selectively clear scrub and treat stumps where
scrub is overtopping what would otherwise be                   2   2
species-rich grassland

Devise and instigate monitoring survey                             1

Remain alert to the possibilities of additional land           3   3   3   3   3
Acquisition




                                           24
 Operational Objective 3 - To improve habitat diversity via management of rough
 grassland, scrub, woodland and hedgerow habitats plus other micro-habitats;

                                                                 YEAR
                                                             01 02 03 04 05

Brush cut one quarter of Bramble scrub                       2    2   2   2   2
within Rough Grassland (compartment 5)

Instigate low-key coppice rotation within Northern
Scrub/Wood (compartment 1) and Southern Scrub e.g.            3   3   3   3   3
a 5-6 compartment rotation with one area cut every third year

Coppice one fifth of hedge between compartments
2 and 4 each year                                            3    3   3   3   3




                                         25
Operational Objective 4 - To improve and thereafter maintain access to the reserve
                         and provide interpretive material;


                                                             YEAR
                                                         01 02 03 04 05


Annual inspection of steps leading from road             1   1   1   1   1
into reserve and repair as necessary

Annual cut back of branches overhanging path
leading into the centre of the reserve                   3   3   3   3   3

Cut back and thereafter maintain open the path           1   3   3   3   3
comprising the southern loop of the track around
the fuel towers

Clear and thereafter maintain open a greater extent
of the southern end of the central track                     1   1   1   1

Provide interpretation board                             1

Remain alert to the possibilities of additional land     3   3   3   3   3
Acquisition




                                           26
 Operational Objective 5 - To seek to conserve the former airfield structures in a
                               good state of repair;

                                                              YEAR
                                                          01 02 03 04 05

Maintain liaison with Essex County Council archaeology    3   3   3   3   3
section regarding conservation of buildings

Cover tops of exposed walls with soft, lime-based
mortar to protect from frost action                       3

Fell and treat stump of large Blackthorn growing out
of air raid shelter                                       3

Investigate sources of funding to assist with building
Conservation work




                                          27
   Operational Objective 6 - To establish systematic indicator and BAP species’
                              population monitoring;

                                                                   YEAR
                                                               01 02 03 04 05

Finalise reserve “Indicator Species” list and monitor
Biodiversity Action Plan species lists for updates                 2

Determine monitoring methods and personnel
to undertake work                                                  2

Where external expert assistance is required for training
and/or monitoring work, liaise with appropriate individuals/
societies to secure appropriate skills to achieve necessary        3   3   3   3
monitoring levels

Initiate necessary training programs                               3   3   3   3

Review results of monitoring and feedback to annual
action plan compilation for future management work             1   1   1   1   1

Establish fixed-point quadrats and photographic points         3   3   3   3   3


The following species/measures are proposed as management “Indicators”:

For grassland management - Pyramidal Orchid
                           Common spotted Orchid
                           Early Purple Orchid
                           Cowslip
                           Wild Liquorice
                           Average number of floral species per fixed 1 metre quadrat

For scrub management – pairs of breeding warblers/other woodland birds




                                          28
       Operational Objective 7 - To encourage study of under-recorded taxa;

                                                             YEAR
                                                         01 02 03 04 05

Identify serious gaps in natural history knowledge       1

Establish contacts with relevant experts to encourage
survey work on the reserve                               2   2   2   2   2




                                         29
                        PART 4 – PROJECT RECORDS AND REVIEW

4.1   Project Records

      Annual warden’s report sheeting are held at Wickham Bishops office. A report sheet
      should be compiled each year and tabled at the appropriate Committee meeting.

4.2   Annual Review

      An annual review of progress and formulation of the forthcoming Annual Action Plan
      should take place between the Trust’s Planning Conservation Officer, the warden and
      the relevant Trust Reserves Officer.

4.3   Long Term Review

      Outcomes from annual reviews should be taken forward to the next management plan
      review and compilation.




                                            30

				
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