Less is Moor for tree popping Friends group

Volunteers from Friends of Crompton Moor have been busy protecting the area’s status as one of the most biological important Grade A sites in the country.

The group particularly targeted the spoil heaps adjacent to the car park at Brushes Clough.

The location is renowned for its lowland heath, characterised by the presence of dwarf shrubs of heather, bilberry plus various mosses and lichens.

It is a priority for nature conservation due to its internationally rare and threatened habitat.

The heath supports a rich variety of wildlife, one of which includes 5,000 species of invertebrates making it a vital habitat for a variety of birds.

Heathland is traditionally a man-made habitat and if uncontrolled, trees will return and threaten the loss of the heath.

So, the group, armed with ‘tree poppers’ to make removal easier, tasked themselves with removing birch saplings from within the heather in the Brushes Clough area.

“Over 1,000 trees were removed, which were a mix of different sizes, but mostly tiny saplings,” explained secretary Marian Herod.

“If these trees remained, they would gradually take over and dominate this habitat, and the rare important species would be lost forever.

“Where possible the removed trees can be replanted in more appropriate places.”

Crompton Moor is a 76-hectare site which rises above Shaw on the Pennine Edge.

It used to be an area of extensive mining activity, which stopped around the 1950s.

Oldham Council bought the area in 1974, and an extensive land reclamation scheme followed in which mine shafts were filled in, the quarry waste was landscaped, and trees were planted in several areas as conifer plantations.

More broadleaved trees were added, which began to add to the diversity of the woodland areas.

The mix of woodland, open grassland, and rare heath helped to form a haven for wildlife, and the diversity of wildlife on Crompton Moor began to evolve.

For more details about FoCM email: cromptonmoor@gmail.com visit their Facebook page or go online to www.cromptonmoor.co.uk

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