The Gaia Trust has recently received approval for a new, five year, Higher Level Countryside Stewardship Agreement for Chark Moor.
Chark Moor covers approximately 12ha of low-lying ground between two spurs. Most of it is wet woodland but there is also about 2.5ha of wet, unimproved grassland. It is part of the Mid Cornwall Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest and is being managed to encourage the re-colonisation of the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia).
The vision underlying the Agreement is to extend the existing area of open grassland at the expense of invading scrub/woodland, manage the open grassland to increase floral diversity and to increase public access/engagement. Management measures therefore focus on improving the existing species rich grassland by winter grazing (using rare breeds like the Belted Galloway Cattle on site shown above), scrub control/eradication & educational access.
The agreement includes significant capital investment (fencing/gates) to eventually allow the removal of some of the woodland from areas at the west of the site that were previously grassland in the 1990s, and the recommencement of grazing. However, those activities aren’t included in this Agreement.
The other big news is that the Agreement includes a sum to build a raised boardwalk and viewing platform at the site with associated interpretation. This will allow for educational access to the site and the Gaia Trust is very keen to hear from schools, colleges or any other group that is interested in visiting the site.