The species rich grassland plateau is extended by cutting back and digging out bramble and other scrub species. A view over Clevedon Bay reappears after tree thinning.
The top of the hill is mown annually by tractor while the Woodcutters brush-cut and rake up other, less accessible areas to promote good grassland.
After clearing sumac trees and scrubby areas grasses and wild flower species return.
At the end of the main flowering period, vegetation is cut to encourage fresh growth of valuable grassland species. Rank weeds may first be pulled by hand to prevent seeding.
Non-native, invasive everlasting sweetpea is mown again and raked off (3rd time this year) and ragwort, which is poisonous to horses andcattle, is pulled from the grassland.
Flowering species colonising a slope (cleared of scrub in the winter of 2015/16) are left to flourish while a neighbouring patch of annual sow thistle is cut to reduce competition. Elsewhere, fresh suckers of sumac are brush-cut for the second time this year.
Annual sow thistle is cut to reduce competition with good grassland species, everlasting sweet pea is strimmed again, and ragwort and some thistles are pulled from grassland.
Phase 2 in controlling invasive sumac – cutting fresh suckers and grubbing out roots
Controlling nettles in grassland and improving access under trees
Improving re-claimed grassland by controlling non-native everlasting sweet pea as well as invasive native species such as bramble, nettle, ragwort, thistles and goosegrass
Brambles are cleared and the remaining sumach is grubbed out and burnt on site.
Invasive, non-native Stag’s horn sumach has spread from neighbouring gardens, taking over more valuable grassland year by year, and needs to be removed. Sycamore trees in adjacent woodland are thinned to improve woodland quality and views over Clevedon Bay.
Brambles and scrub elder are cleared to extend the grassland area as far as the old lime kiln track that runs across the slope, while preserving a thicket habitat higher up.
Follow-up scrub clearing continues, as well as clearing of new patches with the aim of restoring views over Clevedon Bay.
The winter programme starts with more bramble clearing to increase the area of grassland.
Grassland restoration continues – the lower slope is mown again. Certain invasive thistles are pulled or cut while the everlasting sweet pea population is controlled by scything.
Nettles and bindweed as well as annuals including sow thistle and goosegrass quickly re-colonise the slope cleared of scrub last December, and are scythed and then raked off.
Follow-up scrub control includes the brush-cutting and scything of spring regrowth. A programme to control invasive everlasting sweet pea in the grassland starts by the pulling of new shoots. This non-native species develops massive woody roots, difficult to remove.
Nettles are the first to grow back after scrub clearing this slope last winter and need to be removed along with bramble stumps to allow good grassland species to re-establish.
At the top of the hill an area of bramble and self-seeded ash is cleared in order to reclaim valuable grassland. Cut brash is ‘lost in the scrub’ nearby to create wildlife habitat piles.
Bramble cutting continues, leaving a central thicket to provide a wildlife habitat. Remaining bramble stubble on the cleared area is trimmed, raked off and burnt.
Cutting bramble at the bottom of the slope above the cricket club ground and burning brash on site
Removing the lower branches of a large, spreading oak tree significantly enhances the view from seats on the hilltop while improving the form of the tree and allowing sunlight to the ground beneath. Bramble clearance continues on the slope overlooking the cricket field.
Crown raising (removing lower branches from a tree)
Work starts on clearing scrub from the top of the south-east slope overlooking the cricket ground. Brambles and small, self-seeded saplings are cut as the first step in restoring the grassland. Mature native trees will be left for their wildlife and amenity value.
29 July 2015 – Ragwort pulling
The population of this native plant needs to be controlled as it is not only invasive, competing with valuable, less vigorous wild species, but when eaten is very poisonous to large domestic animals particularly horses.