North Lincolnshire’s heathlands
The UK has about 20 per cent of the world’s total area of lowland heath. This heathland is a precious resource, a special type of habitat with unique flowers and birds.
We now have only about 20 per cent of the heathland we had 200 years ago. We are working hard with others to keep, restore and re-create heathland in the region.
In North Lincolnshire heathland is concentrated around Scunthorpe on land known as the “coversands” (an area of wind blown sand deposits). Much of the coversands around the town have been lost to development. What remains is largely fragmented and found on the edge of the town. It is often found within areas of acid grassland.
This urban site on the northern edge of Scunthorpe is good for acid grassland species. It is grazed with Hebridean sheep to keep down invading rank weeds. These can dominate the land and reduce the area of acid grassland.
Local volunteers have become sheep wardens. They help keep an eye on the animals so they can continue to perform their important role.
Next time you visit look out for harebells, common centaury, green woodpeckers, small heath butterfly and, of course, don’t miss the Hebridean sheep.
Restoration work recently took place on the former quarry and landfill site. Work to enhance this site by grazing and controlling scrub is ongoing.
For safety reasons the public cannot visit the site at the moment. We will give updates on progress on this website. The Conesby quarry site is expected to become a haven for wildlife and people.
Coversands – restoring the cover project
The restoration works at Atkinson’s Warren and Conesby quarry were part of the Coversands – restoring the cover project which ran from 2003 to 2008.
The council, with English Nature (now Natural England), the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council restored 700 hectares and re-created 250 hectares of heathland and acid grassland.
The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund and project partners to deliver important national biodiversity targets.
The project also improved access to heathland sites and developed a greater awareness about heathlands among local people.