Why is our heathland important
Kelling Heath is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty close to the Weybourne coastline.
The parks habitat is made up of mixed broadleaf woodland, pine and heathland, one of the most precious habitats in the world today.
Below you can learn about the history of our heathland, why it is so important and about our unique initiative to create more lowland heath on the estate.
The History of our Heathland
Kelling Heath Holiday Park has a diverse habitat make up including semi-natural ancient woodland, planted coniferous woodland, mixed woodland, grassland and lowland heath. These landscape types have all been determined by the nutrient poor and thin soils across the location caused by a glacial retreat over 400,000 years ago. From that point and until around 8000 years ago the whole area would have played host to natural woodland. Man used flint tools to clear the wood to provide building materials and fuel, and it is this harvesting of the woodland that provided the perfect conditions for heathland to develop. Since cleared, the area has been intensively used by people for grazing animals and collection of woody material for fuel - this activity prevented the regeneration of the natural woodland.
During the twentieth century grazing activities generally became very limited as farming practices changed and people no longer needed to collect fuel and animal bedding. Due to the thin, nutrient poor acidic soil, large areas were used as coniferous plantation for the production of timber instead of farming, indeed some of these plantations are still present today. Much of the Park however remained un-planted and heathland is now maintained and preserved in these areas by simulating the historical use of the heath. We employ a number of methods to maintain the heath including scrub removal, rotational cutting and traditional grazing. All of these techniques help to maintain the transitional habitat of heath at various stages between bare ground and young woodland.
Why is it important?
Heathland across the country is very important and the neighbouring heathland is designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Lowland heath is a very rare landscape type and habitat for wildlife. The specially adapted plants that can grow on lowland heath provide suitable habitat for a variety of specialised and unique animals. These include the Silver-Studded Blue Butterflies which require bare ground and black ants, combined with young heather, for their caterpillars to eat. Nightjars, a rare nocturnal bird, are only found on heathland and adders bask in the sun on warm sandy patches between the gorse and heather.
Our Heathland Creation Scheme
This area where we are restoring heathland is only 100 metres away from the SSSI lowland heath and 50 metres away from the most southern parts of the Holiday Park's own heathland. Although after the glacial retreat the soil conditions were left very poor, more recently man has been able to turn this area into arable land by developing a thicker layer of topsoil through the use of lime to neutralise the acidity and fertilisers to compensate for the lack of nutrients in the soil.
Our aim is to convert this once arable field back into lowland heath. The field has not had fertiliser added for over 20 years so the nutrient level has already been greatly reduced. To achieve the conversion we will remove the current vegetation layer, add sulphur to achieve the optimum PH of the soil for heath and apply seed-rich cuttings of heather from the nearby heathland. We will also be planting a number of native trees around the perimeter of the development to enhance the natural screening of the area.
The regeneration of this area of lowland heath will not only increase the size of this important and rare habitat but we hope it will also compliment the neighbouring heathlands, allowing for increased movement and expansion of the associated rare flora and fauna. It will also improve the amenity value with improved heathland interpretation, an increased network of paths and trails and the introduction of new luxury holiday homes.
To find out more or arrange a viewing of the homes and park call the Holiday Home Sales Team. Our Holiday Homes Sales Centre is open seven days a week (except some weekends in December).
holiday home sales team 01263 589900 OR click here to email the sales team