Cannock Chase will receive nearly £200,000 in funding over 6 years to invest in landscaping at Gentleshaw Common.
Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership have been awarded a grant of £192,291 over 6 years by National Grid’s Landscape Enhancement Initiative to be delivered at Gentleshaw Common.
The grant is provided to help to reduce the landscape and visual impact of existing electricity pylons and overhead lines in protected landscapes.
The pylons will still be there if you look up, but the aim is to carry out works to restore the Common away from them to a place that is buzzing with heathland wildlife.
The project will be delivered by our partners Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at their Gentleshaw Common Nature Reserve.
Gentleshaw Common is an 86-hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated for the special mix of heathland plants living there.
By controlling bracken, scrub and purple moor grass this will allow the characteristic flora and fauna of lowland heath, a nationally important habitat, to thrive.
Areas of wet heath will also be restored to benefit more delicate plants such as the beautiful yellow spikes of Bog Asphodel and the carnivorous Sundew.
There will also be improvements to encourage sensitive access by restoring footpaths, constructing boardwalks, and improving the small car park to enable visitors the opportunity to experience and enjoy nature up close.
Ian Marshall, AONB Development Officer added: “We are delighted to receive this grant and the support of National Grid.
"Building on the fantastic work of our partners Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, this project will help to restore the natural heather and wet heath of Cannock Chase”.
Hayley Dorrington, Southern Heathlands Warden for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We're really excited to have been awarded this grant. Staffordshire's heathlands are a massively important part of our ecosystem, but are often overlooked.
“This money will help us make Gentleshaw Common a stunning place to visit, as well as helping the heathland plants, birds and insects living there.”
The Landscape Enhancement Initiative is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project which makes use of a £500m provision from the regulator, Ofgem, to reduce the landscape and visual impact of existing high-voltage electricity infrastructure in English and Welsh AONBs and National Parks.