Exmoor National Park Authority began its annual programme of swaling (controlled burning) on North Hill on Monday. Making good use of the cold dry weather, around seven hectares of heather, gorse and grass moorland were burned. The weather conditions were good and, with the incoming tide, the wind was relatively predictable. The team used the specially adapted “Supercat” to damp down the fire at the edges of the burn in order to control it.
National Park Ranger Tim Parish, who organised the swaling said: “I was pleased with the morning’s work. We have made a good early start to the swaling this year, but there is plenty more to do. We hope to burn another 12 hectares on North Hill this year, as well as a total of around 63 hectares in total across Mill Hill, Haddon, East Anstey and Cosgate.”
Sarah Bryan, Natural Environment Manager at the National Park said, “We are particularly keen to support swaling on Exmoor. Swaling maintains the character of the landscape by rejuvenating moorland plants, which in turn provides grazing for livestock and habitats for wildlife. In order to help support this work, we are delighted that £20,000 has been secured through the Exmoor National Park Sustainable Development Fund, specifically to support moorland management. If you have ideas for projects or equipment that would help to support moorland management, the grant is being co-ordinated by Kate Harris who can be contacted at the Exmoor Hill Farm Project.”
The Exmoor Hill Farm Project can be reached at Cutcombe Market, Wheddon Cross, TA24 7DT, telephone 01643 841455 or 07970795808.