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Galliheugh Bank... A Whin Win

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Galliheugh bank Photo: Rory Straker

Galliheugh Bank is a small area of roadside verge that is part of the Bamburgh Coast and Hills Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Northumberland County Council with assistance from the AONB Partnership have recently carried out works to bring the site back into favourable condition.

One of projects I am involved with while on placement with the AONB Partnership is a scheme to manage and conserve whin Grasslands, which is part of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership.

There are several important whin grassland sites in the AONB. Having not known a lot about the whin sill and the grasslands associated with it before my placement , I have learnt a great deal about its regional significance and national importance and I am excited to develop that even further over the coming months as we organise training days, events and management regimes.

While the management of many of the larger sites is still in discussion, it is the smallest site that has set the ball rolling for this project. Galliheugh Bank is a roadside verge west of Bamburgh on the B1342 next to Bamburgh Castle Golf Course. It will, in the past, have gone unnoticed by many a passing motorist or walker.

The bank is a unit within the larger Bamburgh Coast & Hills Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and I was tasked with writing a plan that will see this bit of SSSI brought back into management and a favourable condition. As the site is a roadside verge, it is owned by Northumberland County Council.

After a discussion and site visit with the Natural England, I drew up a plan outlining what was to be done and when and presented to the County Council’s Local Services manager. Within a week, a team from Local Services were on site to carry out the work. The first job was to strim off the rank grasses which had become dominant; they then set out about removing scrub that had encroached onto the whin grassland – taking care not to damage the very thin soils that lay beneath.

I am very pleased with the work that has been carried out and it has been great to see some positive progress to get the project up and running. It was great to work with the team from Northumberland County Council who have been really positive about managing this scarce and fragile habitat– so it really is a whin win!

I can’t wait to see how the management of the other sites unfolds and I will keep a close eye on Galliheugh Bank each time I head into Bamburgh.

 

Rory Straker

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