Did you know that bare ground is a key heathland habitat?
It supports a wide variety of plants and wildlife, including invertebrates and reptiles. Some of our rarest flora and fauna rely on these areas for all or part of their life cycle. The exposed sand warms up quickly in the sunshine creating basking areas for reptiles and sandy patches for invertebrates, like green tiger beetles, to hunt and nest. They also create space for seedlings to establish, including heather. A varied vegetation structure is so important as it creates different micro habitats that allow a wider variety of wildlife to flourish.
The bare ground ‘scrape’ shown, photographed recently by Warden Mike, is on Velmead Common, where the conservation management is expertly handled by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Thames Basin Heaths Partnership