|Above: Heathers grow on the Heathland Restoration
Project area of the Woodland Education Centre.
evidence that much of East Devon consisted of lowland heath up until 150 years
ago. However, large tracts of this heathland habitat have disappeared as methods of
farming have changed along with land usage. Some maps older than 150 years detail
sizeable areas of heathland throughout East Devon. It is likely that at one time,
much of the Woodland Education Centre would have been heathland. In places where the rhododendron jungle has been cleared in the Centre, small
clumps of heather often grow without being reseeded. This suggests that there is a
residual seed bank of heathland plant species in the soil.
(You can find out more about lowland heath by accessing the world's
largest website on lowland heath here .)
One particular area of the Centre is being restored as a
heathland. The Heathland Restoration Project is
currently underway on a 2 hectare area located on the western side of the Centre, on a
south-east facing slope. The area has been split into 9 parallel, adjacent strips.
Each strip is managed in a different way and the resulting variations in plant species
have been monitored through extensive ecological surveys.
This long-running restoration project first started in 1993.