Shortheath Common report views wanted

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VILLAGERS are being invited to a drop-in day on Saturday, October 20 from 10am to 4pm at Oakhanger Village Hall to give their views on proposals for the management of Shortheath Common Local Nature Reserve.

The management scheme arose from a first round of consultation last year.

Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, Shortheath Common is home to many rare birds, plants and insects including the nocturnal nightjar and the carnivorous round-leaved sundew plant.

The drop-in event has been organised by ecological consultants Footprint Ecology, who have prepared a report on last year’s first round of consultation and a paper with suggested next steps and proposals for sustainable habitat management, including a return of grazing on the common.

Residents are also being asked to become more involved in management, with a volunteering day to help clear up the common on Wednesday, October 24.

Susanne Frost from Hampshire County Council, said: “We will be removing young birch trees that are growing over areas of heathland, which will benefit rare species including birds such as the nightjar, as well as many species of insect.

“No experience is necessary as the day is also about fun. Tools, tuition and refreshments will be provided, although you may wish to bring some water with you to drink. The work parties are open to everyone aged seven and over, although volunteers aged 17 or under should be accompanied and supervised by an adult please. Please wear warm, waterproof clothes and sensible shoes.”

Volunteers are asked to meet in the pond car park for a 10am start and will finish around 1pm, although anyone can leave earlier provided they let an official know on the day.

The reports for the drop in day can be downloaded from Shortheath Common’s website: www.hants.gov.uk/shortheath-common. Or to find out more visit the website.