AHNE Bryniau Clwyd / Clwydian Range AONB

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Why is heather moorland important?

The heather moorlands of the AONB are predominantly dry heath. The thin layers of peat soils are ideal for common heather, bilberry, western gorse, and a variety of upland grasses. Bell heather and cross-leaved heath can also be found.

But bracken and European gorse, not native to this habitat, are becoming increasingly common. Silver birch and rowan trees can also be seen dotted around the uplands, and will slowly spread, turning our valuable moorland into woodland if not kept in check.

The habitat attracts a wide variety of wildlife. Key species are the black grouse and red grouse, birds of prey including merlin, kestrel and hen harrier, smaller birds such as skylark, meadow pipit, curlew and yellowhammer. Bilberry bumblebees can be seen particularly on flowering heather. Moths, beetles and other small insects are also vital to the success of the moorland community.
 
Nor surprisingly our heather moorlands are protected against development and damage by law. Many have the UK designation Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or the European label Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Much of the moorland is common land on which a number of farms have the right to graze sheep. Without agricultural management, the structure of our uplands will change significantly – and much of the habitat and many of the species are in danger of being lost.

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