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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project

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Ecological Survey 1999
Spring, Summer & Autumn Cut (Section 6)


Section 6 September 1999. This section contained the most plant species of any of the sections and although it was dominated by the grasses, Yorkshire Fog and Common Bent, these were intermingled with a great variety of wild flowers and mosses at ground level.


Clover and Heath Speedwell in Section 6. The section was very diverse over much of its area and each quadrat normally contained a considerable number of different species.

Included amongst the wildflowers were Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, as well as several species more characteristic of heathland habitats, such as Heath Speedwell (light blue flower spikes on the left) and Tormentil.


Section 6 prior to the summer brushcut. The composite flowering plant family was well represented in this section, with several perennial and biennial species commonly found across much of the area.

These included Cat's-ear (yellow flowers on the left), Autumn Hawkbit, Marsh Thistle and some Ragwort. These grew interspersed among the dominant grasses.


Section 6 - Spring brushcut being carried out.  

The section also contained considerable quantities of the creeping herb, Bugle (blue flower spikes on the left) together with Woodrushes (also visible flowering on the left).

These plants flower in the spring and have died back considerably by the time of the annual survey in July. As a result, their  dominance is not truly reflected in the survey data.

This section contained fewer tree seedlings than other sections, although a non-native cherry seedling is visible in the foreground (left)

Heather, although not widespread, occurred in several large, extremely dense clumps. A few isolated plants of Bell Heather were also present.

There was little Bramble or Silver Birch in this section.


Dominant Plants in Section 6 in 1999
with figures from 1998 for comparison.

Characteristic heath species are in bold print

Species Overall % frequency Mean % Cover (all quadrats)
1999 1998 1999 1998
Yorkshire Fog 96 100 25 42
Common Bent 96 88 30 22
Common Dog-violet 92 50 15 4
Heath Speedwell 63 33 13 5
European Gorse 54 29 16 4
Slender St John's-wort 50 63 4 4
Pill Sedge 42 4 5 0.5
Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil 42 42 3 14
Smooth-stalked Sedge 38 33 9 5
Bugle 38 21 4 2
Marsh Thistle 33 21 11 2
Eurhynchium praelongum 33 4 7 0.5
Polytrichum formosum 29 42 18 18
Heath Woodrush 29 4 2 0.5
Green-ribbed Sedge 25 8 5 1
Compact Rush 25 29 4 2
Thuidium tamarascinum 25 8 4 0.5
Heather 21 8 6 3
Cat's-ear 21 17 4 5
Percentage frequency = the percentage of the total number of quadrats sampled over the whole site which contain the species. For example, a percentage frequency of 100%, means that the species was found in all quadrats sampled.


  • The dominant plants in this section were the grasses Yorkshire Fog and Common Bent.
  • The section resembled a wild flower meadow habitat, although it also contained a number of characteristic heathland species such as Heather, Bell Heather, Tormentil and Heath Speedwell.
  • The Heather in this section had become extremely thick from the frequent cutting. As a result, even though it was low-growing, no other plants could become established in amongst its dense, woody  growth.
  • The section was extremely diverse over much of its area. The regular cutting throughout the year prevented any one plant from becoming too tall and shading out the other smaller plants.

Changes since the previous year:

  • Violets approximately doubled in abundance, becoming the third most dominant plant in this section.
  • The amount of Heath Speedwell, Heather and European Gorse had approximately doubled in this section since the preceding year.
  • Pill Sedge, while not present in extensive quantities increased ten-fold.
  • Moss cover also increased, with the amount of Eurhynchium praelongum and Thuidium tamarascinum increasing at least three-fold.



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Ecological Survey 1999