BURNING PROGRAMME COMPLETED
Almost perfect weather conditions have meant that Exmoor National Park Authority has completed its annual programme of swaling (controlled burning) for this winter.
Some 88 hectares of heathland across five sites were burned in order to rejuvenate the moorland plants and to provide grazing for sheep, cattle and ponies on the hill.
The National Park Authority owns a number of moorlands across Exmoor, including North Hill, East Anstey Common, parts of Mill Hill, Haddon, and Cosgate. The burns ranged in size and included an unusually large burn on Mill Hill, which had to be licensed by Defra, as part of a study looking at the effects of large and small burns on wildlife, landscape, and grazing patterns.
Matt Harley, land agent at the National Park said, “We are delighted to have been able to complete our programme for this season, the weather so often leaves us with a backlog. We are very grateful to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service for their support; thanks to a close working relationship with Fire Control, no unnecessary call outs were made and they did not have to attend any of our burns.”
The swaling season runs from 1 October to the 15 April inclusive although farmers and landowners in the south west are encouraged to complete their scheduled burns by the end of March if possible to avoid any possible damage to wildlife.