Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Braunton Burrows work will help wildlife thrive

PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 March 2017

Scrub clearance work being carried out on Braunton Burrows.

Scrub clearance work being carried out on Braunton Burrows.


It may appear drastic, but the heavy work that has taken place at Braunton Burrows will actually benefit the flora and fauna on the unique site

The work on the Burrows will make it easier for rare flowers to bloom. The work on the Burrows will make it easier for rare flowers to bloom.

The annual scrub clearing at Braunton Burrows may look severe but is actually necessary for wildlife to thrive.

That was the message from the caretakers of the UNESCO Biosphere reserve as a winter of work involving heavy machinery comes to an end.

There have been significant ground clearance works over the winter, removing undergrowth and roots to promote the growth of flowers found nowhere else in England, such as the dune gentian.

The scale and severity of the works on the world famous site prompted concerned comments on social media from people fearing it would damage the landscape.

Scrub clearance work being carried out on Braunton Burrows. Scrub clearance work being carried out on Braunton Burrows.

But Burrows education officer Rupert Hawley said: “All scrub clearance on the Burrows is discussed and carefully planned with Natural England.

“There are long term benefits for this unique environment and this spring and summer we look forward to seeing the extraordinary abundance and diversity of flowers for which the Burrows are famous.”

And Justin Gillett, Natural England’s conservation advisor added: “While it may appear like ‘unnecessary’ clearance of picturesque spots Burrows users are attached to, in the long run this newly opened up ground will thrive.

“Scrub left to grow unchecked would soon result in the Burrows being overgrown with brambles and Sea Buckthorn making it impenetrable for users who enjoy strolling through its open spaces.”

Clearance work is carried out by the Christie Estate under an HLS (Higher Stewardship Agreement) with Natural England, which prepares an annual scrub management plan which identifies areas that need to be cleared and piled, ready for burning the next season.

The public also raised concerns about the impact of the clearance work on local wildlife. To this Justin said: “While it is likely this process does have some impact, in terms of dislodging habitats and wildlife, it is important to view this in terms of the greater good. The bigger picture involves a battle to stem the spread of scrub which will have a longer term impact on species and habitats.”

As part of this season’s work, international charity Plantlife has funded work in Zone 1 to create suitable habitat for the rare dune gentian. Andy Byfield, who is overseeing the project for Plantlife, said: “Just as you would weed the garden to ensure a treasured plant grows properly, this clearance work opens up the ground to allow the Dune Gentian to thrive.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 15:05

Want to help beat cancer? Join the Relay For Life event at Barnstaple Rugby Club today (Saturday) and right through the night until Sunday lunchtime

Read more
Yesterday, 15:20

The MetOffice has issued a yellow weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms across North Devon today (Saturday).

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

Take a look at the super pictures our iwitness24 photographers have been capturing this week.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

Five days of Chulmleigh Old Fair 2017 from Tuesday, July 25 to Sunday, July 30

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00

Hundreds turned out for the annual Dogs Trust Ilfracombe Fun Day at Mullacott Equestrian Centre

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Appeal started by Ilfracombe friends sees offers flood in from all over the UK and as far away as New Zealand.

Read more
Fri, 16:48

Club gets refurbished changing facilities in time for the new football season

Read more
Fri, 16:00

Butcher’s knives and bayonette are among 100 knives handed in at Barnstaple Police Station - but front desk staff urge people not to wait for an amnesty to hand in blades.

Read more
Fri, 13:50

Bideford New Year’s Eve celebrations will continue this year, as organisers promise children and adult’s entertainment, as well as ‘bigger and better’ fireworks than ever.

Read more
Fri, 13:22

North Devon flood alerts are in place and the Met Office is warning up to two centimetres of rain could fall in a very short time

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications